It’s a match: UGA dietetics students enjoying unprecedented success
May 28, 2019
Author: Cal Powell  | 706-542-6402  | More about Cal
Contact: Emma Laing  | 706-542-7983  | More about Emma

For the second year in a row, FACS dietetics students at the University of Georgia achieved a near perfect match rate for post-graduate dietetic internships.

Dietetics students who graduated in 2017-18 set a record high for the department at a match rate of 97 percent.

This year’s 2018-19 match rate is similarly impressive at 100 percent. The national average is about 50-60 percent.

“I could not be prouder of our students for their hard work and tenacity throughout the internship match cycle,” said Emma Laing, director of the undergraduate dietetics program within the department of foods and nutrition. “It is an arduous process, so when there is a match, students feel a huge sense of accomplishment knowing their hard work paid off and they are on to the next phase of their career.”

Twenty graduating seniors from Laing’s program will spend the next 9-24 months completing their dietetic internships and graduate degrees.

In addition, seven alumni who graduated up to four years ago from the dietetics program contacted Laing for assistance with the process and have also received a match.

The process to match students with dietetic internships is similar to the computer matching process used to determine medical residencies.

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 1,200 hours of supervised practice in an accredited internship.

Following successful completion of the internship, students then have to pass the national comprehensive Commission on Dietetic Registration RDN exam.

“To obtain a dietetic internship is prestigious,” Laing said. “Despite the national match rate being as low as it has been in recent years, our students feel more secure in that their program produces a much higher match rate.”

"Although the dietetics match process is daunting, Dr. Laing and the professors in the department of foods and nutrition prepare students from the start," said Accelerated Master's student Kathryn Kear, who was matched to Brigham and Women’s Hospital Internship. "By the time I applied, I was not only confident in my application, but I was also confident in myself. I truly have Dr. Laing to thank for my successful match!"

This year’s matched students will attend other highly competitive programs throughout the United States, including UGA’s own combined master’s and dietetic internship; Boston University in Massachusetts; University of Houston and the U.S. Army/Baylor University program in Texas; Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; and Kent State University in Ohio, among others.

“I was thrilled when match day finally came and I saw that I was matched to the Army-Baylor Graduate Program in Nutrition,” student Riordan Dail said. “I have no doubt that all of the encouragement and guidance given to me by my professors in FACS are what allowed me to have the opportunity of a lifetime attending this program.”

Laing, in her second year as director of the program, has built upon a solid foundation for dietetics students looking to become RDNs.

In addition to required seminars for all students, Laing offers workshops and professional online portfolio development instruction in class.

“Our outstanding match rate speaks to the exceptional education that is delivered by the faculty in our department,” Laing said. “Students in our program receive valuable career advice from faculty mentors in the department and from the Student Success and Advising Center’s academic advisor, Bev Hull. With these resources and levels of support, our students are extremely well prepared to enter into the match cycle.”

Through service-learning and practicum experiences that meet the experiential learning requirement at UGA, dietetics students have opportunities to gain experience in public health, hospitals, school nutrition, as well as other community and health care settings.

“I think my various experiences with volunteering and interning and joining the Student Dietetic Association boosted my application, but I wouldn’t have been accepted into my DI without the help of everyone I’ve met and worked with during my time here at UGA,” said student Stacey Deng, who is bound for Appalachian State's program. “From professors to bosses and co-workers, from letters of recommendations to a personal proofreading of my personal statement, the relationships I have developed among my mentors and peers have made the most impact.”

For more information about the University of Georgia Didactic Program in Dietetics in the department of foods and nutrition, visit the FACS dietetics page.

Congratulations to our talented UGA grads who were matched to programs this year! Those listed below are shared with permission:

  • Kathryn Kear - Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Stacey Deng - Appalachian State University
  • Riordan Dail - US Military-Baylor University Graduate Program in Nutrition
  • Neal Holliday - Augusta University
  • Wells Ross - Oklahoma University
  • Megan Houston - Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
  • Samara Talia Pattiasina - Kent State University
  • Rhea Sharma - Rush University Medical Center
  • Tyler Roof - Appalachian State University
  • Allison Rautmann - University of Georgia
  • Mary Beth Scott - Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Amanda Pencek - Life University
  • Tara Morgan - Augusta University
  • Lindsey Woller - Vanderbilt University
  • Camaria Welch - Emory University Hospital
  • Carleen Mullins - University of Northern Colorado
  • Abbie McBrayer - Emory University Hospital
  • Lina Abuhamdieh - Georgia State University
  • Amanda Frothingham - NewYork Presbyterian
  • Sara Black - Utah State University
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