Dietetics students achieve perfect match rate
For Caroline Henning, it was a day nearly a decade in the making.
“Notification Day,” or the day when dietetics students find out where they are matched for required post-graduate dietetic internships, is a milestone event marked by both stress and elation.
“It was very nerve-wracking up until the final moment,” said Henning, who is bound for the Medical University of South Carolina. “Then after I found out, it’s like relief – just a very thrilling moment realizing all the hard work has paid off and I’m one step closer to being a dietitian and achieving this career goal I’ve had for so long.”
All 35 dietetics students in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences who applied this year were selected by supervised practice programs, many of which are combined with graduate degrees. Including both fall 2020 and spring 2021 application cycles, this class of graduates had a 100 percent match rate, compared to the national rate of 73 percent.
“This was our second Notification Day of the COVID-19 pandemic (the first was in November 2020), and I admire the resilience and ingenuity of our students,” said Emma Laing, director of the undergraduate dietetics program within the FACS department of foods and nutrition. “Receiving a match is an emotional and validating moment in their lives that reflects their hard work during the past four years.”
A bi-annual event, Notification Day takes place after students participate in interviews and visits to supervised practice programs in Georgia and across the country. Because of the pandemic, all visits and open houses were held virtually.
To determine the post-graduation assignments, students rank supervised practice programs where they would like to complete their hands-on training; simultaneously, the internship programs rank the student applicants.
The lists are then submitted to the D & D Digital Online Dietetics Internship Matching Service for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which uses an algorithm that aligns the choices of the applicants with those of the internship programs.
The first round of D&D Digital pairings was announced simultaneously across the U.S. on April 5.
In addition to a newly required professional development course for all dietetics students, Laing offers workshops and professional development opportunities outside of class.
“Dr. Laing does a great job preparing us,” Henning said. “She is truly a lifesaver in this whole process. She starts you off with workshops that help you feel more comfortable with the process, and she reassures you every step of the way and steers you in the right direction.”
Ayshia Ranjitsingh, who matched with Keith and Associates Distance Dietetic Internship, agreed.
“Dr. Laing truly makes such a difference for her students,” Ranjitsingh said. “I have learned what a privilege it is to have such a supportive DPD director, particularly after speaking with alumni from other programs.”
Students seeking to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist must first complete coursework in an accredited program – the FACS dietetics major is a Didactic Program in Dietetics accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics – then finish approximately 1,200 hours of supervised practice in an accredited post-graduate program.
Following successful completion of the internship, students then have to pass the national comprehensive Commission on Dietetic Registration RDN exam.
This year’s graduates will attend highly competitive supervised practice programs throughout the country, including Vanderbilt, Duke, the University of Texas, Georgia State University and Emory University, among others.
“Our students are continually selected by outstanding programs in Georgia and throughout the United States,” Laing said. “I could not be prouder of them for their persistence and hard work in reaching this milestone.”
Below is a list of students who were matched to programs this year, shared with permission:
Emily Hance, University of Houston
Brittani Rowe, Komplete Business Dietetic Internship
Paige Wilson, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Poutheavy Tep, Georgia State University
Mayra Patino, Georgia State University
Olivia Mountcastle, Georgia State University
Dominique Miller, Georgia State University
Destiney McDaniel, Georgia State University
Madison Sutton, Georgia State University
Ayshia Ranjitsingh, Keith and Associates Distance Dietetic Internship
Emma Roberts, Georgia Southern University
Bailey Davis, Kaiser University
Madison Knudsen, Morrison Healthcare Dietetic Internship
Caroline Henning, Medical University of South Carolina
Frances Perkinson, Sodexo Dietetic Internship
Madeline Blackadar, Augusta University
Abby Bailey, Duke University Hospital
Courtney Keith, Georgia Southern University
Mallory Johns, Augusta University
Caroline Jones, University of Texas Med Branch
Corrie Fletcher, Gulf Coast Dietetic Internship
Rebecca Reese, Augusta University
Jacob Borland, Hunter College
Isabella Morin, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Olivia Plageman, Augusta University
Mitzi Samano Leano, Augusta University
Caroline Wieler, Emory University Hospital
Ellen Schaefer, Life University
Emily Gattiker, Lipscomb University
Diego “Daniel” Gomez, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Internship
Laura Barbee, Lagniappe Wellness Dietetic Internship
Emily Brown, Marywood University
Amber Malik, Morrison Healthcare Dietetic Internship
Maya Keator, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System