Oregon State University Dietetic Internship (OSUDI) intern Paige Becker is the latest recipient of a prestigious scholarship – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Scholarship.
“For an intern to get one of these scholarships is noteworthy, as they go first to graduate students, which she is not,” says College of Public Health and Human Sciences Associate Professor Mary Cluskey, who serves as director of the OSUDI Program.
“Receiving this award helped me feel even more secure about my decision to move across the country to pursue my career goals,” Paige says. “I’m so happy I chose the program and location that I did. It’s been an incredible experience moving here and learning all that I have already.”
“Receiving this award helped me feel even more secure about my decision to move across the country to pursue my career goals.”
Paige, who began the OSUDI Program in September, moved to Portland after earning an undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences with a Dietetics option from Pennsylvania State University – University Park campus. She is one of 12 dietetic interns at Oregon State.
“The OSUDI has an emphasis in community dietetics, which was important to me since that is the area of nutrition I am most passionate about,” she says. “Additionally, the rotations available through the OSUDI seemed very interesting and were unique from most other DI programs.”
“Paige is a wonderful contribution to the program, where she is a strong team player with her co-interns,” Mary says. “She is enthusiastic about her internship activities, and that provides for a great experience for her and the others involved in the internship.”
Housed in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, the accredited OSUDI program is a nine and one-half-month, full-time supervised practice program that focuses on long-term senior nutrition care and community nutrition.
It features experiences in traditional venues such as clinical nutrition care, food service, management and community nutrition education and counseling, and includes six or seven rotations in various health care settings under the supervision of qualified registered dietitian/nutritionist preceptors.
“Some of them include physicians offices – patient centered medical homes, hospitals, community nutrition, public health sites and WIC programs, school lunch programs, nursing homes, OSU campus food and nutrition programs including Student Health Services, University Housing and Dining Services and more,” Mary says.
Internship preceptors develop unique opportunities for students to learn in a combined experiential and structured environment.
“It is so rewarding to feel as though I’ve made a difference, even if small, in my patients’ lives. This is my favorite aspect of the internship thus far.”
“We believe we are one of only a few dietetic internships where interns work with the Affordable Care Act in patient centered medical homes working with a team of care providers in primary care clinics,” Mary says. “Interns are also exposed to strong mentors and professionals at a variety of sites. Each offers an opportunity to develop diverse skills and experiences.”
Selection is competitive and based on grades, leadership and campus engagement as undergraduates, work history, recommendations and interviews.
The OSUDI is a non-credit, non-degree, post-baccalaureate program, and upon successful completion graduates are eligible to take the RD registration exam.
“I have learned so, so much already,” Paige says. “When I was at a site that does not employ a registered dietitian, I served as the nutrition expert. Having to throw myself into appointments without a preceptor to guide me was an amazing learning experience. At first I felt a bit out of my comfort zone, but by trusting my education and accepting that I would make some mistakes, I was able to stay calm and quickly became much more comfortable counseling patients. And now, after four years of classwork and tests, I finally am experiencing why I chose this profession.
“It is so rewarding to feel as though I’ve made a difference, even if small, in my patients’ lives,” Paige says. “This is my favorite aspect of the internship thus far. I also enjoy meeting and counseling patients from different cultural backgrounds. It is fascinating to learn about different diets and customs.”