The path to professional success is rarely straight – and sometimes you need a new path altogether. Anna Gianpetro did, and decided to step away from her profession as a data analyst to pursue her true passion and lifelong hobby – nutrition.
“I was working at a university, and although it was a great experience I knew there was something else for me,” Anna says. “I was fortunate enough to be able to take nutrition classes for free, and after some deliberation I decided to pursue a career change to nutrition.”
Fast forward to today. Anna is completing her dietetic internship and will graduate on June 23 with a post-baccalaureate and soon after will take the RD examination.
“Anna came to dietetic internship after having a successful career, and a change in direction is a win-win for her and us,” says Associate Professor Mary Cluskey. “Her enthusiasm for dietetics – and in helping and motivating others to eat healthier lives – makes her a role model for her peers and OSU alumni, of whom we can always be proud.”
She’s excited to get her feet wet in her new profession, and what makes the field so interesting to her is that it focuses on food, a subject dear to her heart.
“I love food and talking to people about what they eat and what I eat,” she says. “Food is such a personal and public thing, and I think it’s so interesting. Dietitians tend to be caring and generous people with a genuine interest in helping others.”
While she is preparing for the RD test, Anna will look for work in Portland and hopes to secure a position in nutrition counseling in an outpatient setting. She also plans to enjoy time with family and to travel.
Anna’s hard work in the program was recently recognized, alongside nutrition senior Peggy Spangler, when she received an Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the Oregon Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at the 2017 Educational Conference on May 5 in Portland, Ore.
“I was surprised, humbled and grateful to receive the award,” Anna says. “There are so many outstanding students in this field, with a lot of different interests and strengths. I don’t see myself as an outlier, so I was honored that someone else thinks I am.”
Reflection and the next chapter
Anna says that she will remember her time as a student fondly and that her best memories include working on a research study with fellow interns. She also acknowledges Michelle Bump and Mary as reasons why she enjoyed the program so much.
“I was attracted to the program because the focus on community was exactly what I was looking for,” she says. “Also, it was about location, location, location! I moved to Portland after living in Phoenix for nearly 15 years and I love the greenery and all the rainbows.”
Anna’s future career goals are simple and straightforward. She wants to help others help themselves as they work toward optimal health and well-being.
“I hope to move people to be a healthier version of themselves,” she says. “My goal is to work with clients to help them decide what’s the best way for them to make changes instead of telling them what I think they should do. Change is hard, and we could all use an ally in facing change in order to make lifestyle changes that stick.”
Her advice for current and incoming dietetics students includes having an open mind to allow learning.
“Approach everyone with a genuine curiosity to learn,” Anna says. “I have learned amazing things from people and experiences when I least expected it.”