My name is Natalie Laframboise, and
I’m in the masters of Foods and Nutrition internship program at Western
University. I came to Western specifically for the program, I was at a
point in my career where getting my registered dietitian was important for
career advancement, but if I was going to take time off work, I really wanted to
get my graduate degree as well, so the program was a perfect fit. So my research
is on the food environment, and specifically I’m looking at the types of
food products that are advertised in grocery store flyers, and I’m comparing
the proportion of healthy versus unhealthy foods in discount grocery
flyers vs. their premium counterpart. I think my program allows me to thrive and
be successful because of the people, our advisors, our internship coordinators, the
faculty and staff are extremely supportive, and from day one you can tell
that they want you to succeed. I’ve also grown close with my peers, and as a
mature student in the program, I’ve been able to offer some guidance and support,
and it’s a real sense of inspiration for me to see my peers grow, and come into
themselves as young professionals. So the second half of the program, you do a
one-year internship where you follow a dietitian in different areas of
Dietetics, so clinical, management, population health, and I think it’s a
wonderful experience to get that hands-on training from experts in the
Dietetic community, and so far everyone that I’ve had as a preceptor has been
extremely supportive, willing to share their knowledge, and expertise and really
encourage me as I make my way to becoming a dietitian. I think the best
thing about being a Western graduate student is that sense of community,
the Foods and Nutrition program is offered at Brescia, which is an affiliate
college of Western, and it is a smaller campus, so you do have real sense of
community and knowing your professors on a first-name basis, it feels homey and
really comfortable. I was nervous going back to school after ten years, but I can
honestly say that it has been a great value to me, it’s easier for me to
translate theory into practice by having ten years of working experience, so I
would encourage anybody to apply who’s in the same situation, and for young
students that are nervous about how competitive it is to get into the
program, I would also encourage them to perhaps take some time and get that
valuable work experience, that will not only help them get into the program, but
will help them succeed as well.