Denisonians in Health Professions: Medical Dietetics

Name:  Jennifer McCann
Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2014
Denison Major:  Psychology
Graduate Degree Type:  Master of Science in Coordinated Medical Dietetics, from The Ohio State University, Class of 2019
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?

I decided my junior year at Denison that I wanted to be a dietitian, but knew the path I would need to take if I did not transfer would be a graduate program, so I started looking for schools that had an accredited dietetics graduate program. I also needed the program to be a coordinated program since I would be graduating with an undergraduate degree in a field other than nutrition, this limited my options. I also ideally wanted to stay in state so that brought me to The Ohio State University which had the Coordinated Medical Dietetics program, everything I was looking for.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge was having an undergraduate degree not in the health sciences, while I knew my psychology background and knowledge would be very helpful in the profession, I had very few prerequisite courses complete that I needed before even applying to the program. Therefore, I took two years after Denison graduation where I took these prerequisite classes at Columbus State. I took two years as I was also working full-time and school part-time, which I recommend to any new graduate before going to graduate school! The real-life experience was also crucial to my success in my graduate program.

What was your favorite part of your graduate school experience?

My favorite part of my graduate school experience was the life and career experience my program allowed me to get before graduation. Since it was a coordinated program I was able to do my internship hours at the same time I was taking classes, which allowed me to experience the many different roles I could work in as a Dietitian and confirm to myself that I chose the right path as I loved them all!

What have you enjoyed most about your work post-graduation?

What I have enjoyed most about my work post-graduation is truly making a difference in my patient’s lives. I am able to follow-up with them and see them regularly, see the changes they are making and encourage them every step of the way to live healthier.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?

Look up the prerequisite courses before you graduate! If I had done this and planned ahead just a little more I would have had to spend less money on these classes post-graduation. If you are interested in healthcare, try to have a major or minor in the hard sciences. I started with a Biology minor and if I would have stuck with it (rather than changing to Sociology/Anthropology) I would have had maybe a year less of school post-graduation. However, I did love the classes I took for my sociology/anthropology minor, so biggest advice is do what you love, never give up, and you will get to where you want to end up.