Registered Dietitian, Private Consultant
I was born/grew up in: Bay St. George, Newfoundland
I now live in: Flat Bay, Newfoundland
I completed my training/education at: St. Francis Xavier University, BSc Organic Chemistry, BSc Human Nutrition
Do you identify as Indigenous?
I am a Newfoundland Mi’kmaq person.
Describe what you do at work.
I council individuals and groups on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. I use chemistry, biology and Math very regularly. The equipment I use is not very high tech: bathroom scales, cloth measuring tape, pen, paper, a laptop and last but not least, running shoes. Obesity and chronic disease is the problem I engage in. I make decisions everyday based on STEM skills. I work independently at this time and offer services in French and English. I am working towards fluency in the Mi'kmaw language.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect peoples lives?
The work I do as a dietitian is very important to the community. The obesity epidemic affects First Nations disproportionately and leads to many other health problems. I love helping people become more active and cooking at home!
What motivates you in your career?
When my clients stick to the plan we have developed long enough to FEEL and SEE the difference, I am very happy. I have always been a "gym rat" so translating that into a valuable profession is satisfying.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
When I was in high school I had hoped to be a medical doctor. I went to university and applied to the program but did not get accepted. I went on to complete two Bachelor’s Degrees (Organic Chem and Human Nutrition). When I completed the Organic Chemistry degree I worked at different jobs but nothing that was really satisfying. A friend of mine opened my eyes to Dietetics and it seemed like a great fit with my love of running and sports in general. So I started to look at becoming a dietitian.
A registered dietitian is a regulated health profession that requires a four-year Bachelor’s Degree, a one-year internship, and successful completion of a National Certification Exam. So, almost 17 years after I completed my degree in Organic Chemistry, I went back to complete one in Human Nutrition (I don’t believe you are ever too old to start again.)
After this I had to find a place to intern as this is part of the requirements for registration. I didn’t get into an internship the first two times I applied but on my third try I was accepted to complete a pilot project internship at St. Francis Xavier University. In this Indigenous focused internship I worked in a number of small Indigenous communities from Nova Scotia to Labrador. My area of concentration was incorporating Indigenous languages into community, food service and clinical aspects of Dietetics. It was a great experience and now I’m now practicing privately with weight management clients. I do both in person and online programs and do healthy eating presentations at community events and in school nutrition presentations.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I run A LOT! I have completed the Boston Marathon and Ironman Newfoundland. I teach Mi'kmaw Language basics and I am a volunteer Fire Fighter.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Learn to cook and embrace hard physical work (like walking or biking everywhere and gardening).