Student Dietetic Association promotes health through leadership

October 2nd, 2018 Contact: Emma Laing  |  706-542-7983  | More about Emma

The University of Georgia Student Dietetic Association is an organization run by students in the department of foods and nutrition majoring in dietetics.

Members benefit from gaining leadership and volunteer experiences as well as networking with professionals in the field. This academic year, the organization is planning an impressive lineup of speakers, educational programs, and service projects that foster a sense of community among dietetics majors and students considering joining the major.

“In the past, we have impacted our community by partnering with various local organizations to serve the Athens community, such as preparing sack lunches for Athens PB&J as well as a volunteer partnership with Campus Kitchen to fight senior hunger in Athens,” said SDA President, Hadley Gordon. She added, “This year, we have created a service committee and plan to form a lasting relationship with the Northeast Georgia Food Bank for the future. Our club hosts various speakers from across the southeast who speak on the topics of dietetic internships and potential career avenues, along with their personal experiences in the field.”

Since the first meeting in August, invited guests have included SDA faculty advisor and director of the dietetics program, Emma Laing, and UGA Dining Services’ Registered Dietetic Technician, Mariah McDaniel.

Dietetic internship program directors in the southeast region will be attending a DI forum organized by SDA on October 10th, 2018 as part of the centennial FACS Week events. At this forum, the program directors will have an opportunity to speak about their program and encourage potential interns to apply. The programs that will be in attendance are: The University of Georgia, Samford University, Life University, University of Alabama Birmingham, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Augusta University, Emory Hospital, Morrison Health Care, Georgia State University, Meredith College, and Appalachian State University.

Other professional development workshops, social events, and community service projects are planned for the remainder of the semester. The group is also very receptive to innovative ideas that students may have in terms of meeting agendas - catering to the needs of members is the top priority for the SDA executive board.

“I have never interacted with a more passionate group of students dedicated to the dietetics profession than our students in SDA,” Laing said. “The SDA leadership team is extraordinary this year, and I know our student members appreciate the variety of speakers and activities that place them at an advantage to succeed in supervised practice programs in nutrition, graduate school, and other career opportunities once they graduate from our program.”

Indeed, former SDA members have expressed appreciation for how helpful the organization was in preparing them for a career in nutrition. “SDA gave me the opportunity to volunteer on campus and in the community, meet various program directors and ultimately understand how I could increase my chances of being accepted into a dietetic internship,” FDN alumna Christine Swearingen said.

SDA Vice President Neal Holliday is excited about the programming this year and fulfilling the mission of the organization. “Our group works extra hard to make sure our members are getting the resources they need. Our job might seem strenuous, but we find excitement in helping our peers reach their career goals, and you’ll seldom find us without a smile on our faces because we truly love what we do,” Holliday said.

The mission of the SDA is to serve the college, community and each other by involving as many dietetics students as possible to promote a message of health, good nutrition and exercise. The SDA is committed to reflecting the mission and vision of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is to empower members to be the nation’s food and nutrition leaders and optimizing the nation’s health through food and nutrition.

Meetings are typically held twice per month at 5 p.m. in Dawson Hall. Visit the schedule of upcoming meetings at the bottom of the SDA webpage.

The 2017-2018 SDA leadership team includes:

President: Hadley Gordon

Vice President: Neal Holliday

Secretary: Caroline Henning

Treasurer: Lindsey Woller

Service Chair: Kate Lane

PR Chair: Lina Abuhamdieh

Faculty Advisor: Emma Laing

For more information about becoming involved in SDA, contact Hadley Gordon at

Categories: Foods and NutritionUndergraduateStudent Dietetic AssociationHealthNutrition
Related Event: FACS Week: SDA Meeting/NEGDA Professionals Panel (various speakers)
Tags: sda, facsweek

In this category: Nutrition