Nutrition and Food Science Scholarships at UDC Delivers Desired Results
To enhance UDC’s American Dietetic Association-accredited Nutrition and Food Science Program, and at the request of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), in 2001 CECHE established an annual nutrition scholarship program at the university’s Nutrition and Food Science program in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.
The scholarships are awarded under two categories: student recruitment and student retention. The student recruitment efforts are directed towards attracting new students to the Nutrition and Food Science Program whereas the student retention scholarship facilitate to retain the students already enrolled in the program. The Director of the Nutrition and Food Science Program Dr. Prema Ganganna, in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Petty, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the District of Columbia has established cooperative efforts with the District of Columbia Public School System in recruiting one eligible student for the Nutrition and Food Science program. Wide scale publicity and recruitment will be conducted. To facilitate student retention, additional scholarships are awarded to the students with the highest GPA in the program. The eligibility criteria for the new recruit are: resident of the District of Columbia; a minimum 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA); motivated to pursue a career option in the field of Nutrition or Food Science; establish need for financial assistance; submit a short essay on his/her “future plans of action as a nutritionist in the community.”
The criteria for the second category are: continuation at in the Nutrition and Food Science Program; highest GPA and/or in the Dean’s list during the previous academic year and: establish need for financial assistance. An advisory committee consisting of the faculty of the Nutrition and Food Science Program screens and awards the scholarships for eligible candidates.
Aimed at stimulating student enrollment and retention, CECHE’s Nutrition Scholarship Program at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) has done both over the past five years. The university’s Nutrition and Food Science Program has seen a 62 percent increase in enrollment since the scholarships were introduced in 2001, from 19 to 58 students (see table), and an equally impressive increase in retention. To date, 34 UDC nutrition and dietetics majors have received scholarships as part of the CECHE initiative, and it has helped to reach more students and retain almost 90 percent of the students enrolled in the program.
In addition, in 2004, the scholarship program facilitated the awarding of a 10-year accreditation to the Nutrition and Food Science Program by the American Dietetic Association’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education. In response, UDC’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences anticipates starting an internship cum master’s program in nutrition and dietetics (with emphasis on public policy, communication and clinical experience) to comply with the recommendations of the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s task force, which requires a graduate degree to become a registered dietitian. Meanwhile, UDC looks forward to maintaining the momentum generated by the scholarship program and its promise of professional challenge and financial assistance.
2006-2007 scholarship recipients
Four UDC students were awarded CECHE scholarships for the 2006-2007 academic year.
Vera Braga: A senior majoring in dietetics, Ms. Braga has extensive research and academic experience in her chosen field, as well as a master’s degree from Brazil,. Her long-term goal is to complete her baccalaureate degree in dietetics at UDC and pursue graduate studies in the field of nutrition, after which she would like to work with communities in effectively using diets to prevent canceror to provide nutritional support to cancer survivors.
Mabel Hernandez: A recent immigrant from Columbia, Ms. Hernandez came to the United States to pursue a better life and build a family. Intent on becoming a registered dietitian, she has a graduate degree in nutrition from Columbia and is pursuing a second baccalaureate degree in the field to meet the accreditation standards in dietetics.
Rhea F. Williams: Ms. Williams is a senior majoring in dietetics. Upon completion of the program, she is planning to pursue a dietetic internship and work with cancer patients as a registered dietitian. Currently, she is president of both the UDC Student Dietetic Association and the group Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.
2004-2005 scholarship recipients
Beth C. Burchard: Recruited to UDC’s Nutrition and Food Science baccalaureate program in 2003, Ms. Burchard’s long-term goal is to work as a registered dietitian in the Washington, D.C. area. In view of the nationwide epidemic of overweight, she hopes to focus her practice on weight management, physical fitness and diet- and lifestyle-related illnesses.
Christine A. Hanson: Ms. Hanson joined the Nutrition and Food Science Program in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in health and fitness management. She is a certified nutrition specialist and a personal trainer. Her desire to pursue a second bachelor’s degree is driven by her dream of starting a private practice in personal training and weight loss management.
The scholarship program began in the spring of 2001, and the first scholarships awardees were Erica Hudson and Austin Alexis Kimelia. Lisa Bethea, Deca Nicole Cate , and Kathleen McGrath were the 2002 scholars. 2003 scholarships recipients included: Becky Salus, Lisa Martinez, Abdallah Mkanda and Erica Lynne Hudson.
Prema Ganganna, Ph.D., Director, DPD Program
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