Chiung Lien (She/Her), RDN, LDN

| Aramark – Collegiate Hospitality | Nutrition Associate Manager | Florida State University 800 W Madison Street, Tallahassee, FL 32304-1270

1. What inspired you to become a dietitian?
As a first-generation immigrant from Taiwan. Growing up in a single family, my dad was always in the kitchen preparing food for my sister and I during his spare time. He would also teach us what food has the most nutrients and how to prepare them. I have always had a passion for food and this also started with reading the Chinese Food Nutrition cookbook, I started to realize the synergy that food contains. The combinations you can create with ingredients to absorb various nutrients have always interested me and I want to share that knowledge with others to help make a difference in people.
2. Could you tell me about your educational background and the path you took to become a dietitian?
I started my higher education journey with an A.S. in Business Computer Programming from a Community College in North Carolina. I realized my passion was not fulfilled with computer programming. One day I was on break at my job drinking coffee and I had a thought… “What if I opened my coffee shop?” So I began to research and pursue this path and opened up a coffee shop with my husband.
We realized that owning our business was a lot of time spent away from our young son so we let the lease come to term, sold the equipment, and became a stay-at-home mom for the next 3 years. During these 3 years, I spent countless hours watching the Food Network, and reignited my passion for food that had started at a young age. With encouragement from my Stepfather, I pursued an A.S. in Culinary Arts with Baking and Pastry certification. Soon after I attended Johnson and Wales University where I received a B.S. in Culinary Nutrition and Food Science. I then completed my dietetic internship in Massachusetts, attended the American Institution of Baking to learn the manufacturing side of the baking industry, and then took my dietetic exam.
3. What does a typical day or week look like for you as a dietitian?
Every day is different for me at work. Some days are easier than others but below is a general idea of what I do.
My day-to-day tasks are

Student Consultations and Accommodations – MNT counseling, Meal Plan Accommodations.

Health & Wellness Programming – Produce Spotlight, Cooking Demos

Operational Support – Menu and ingredient planning, Inventory/procuring for WFZ

Other Activities – Member of Culinary Council, ERG, RD- Culinary Excellence, Diversity Champ, Support Sustainability and Marketing Department.
4. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a dietitian?
The most challenging for me is navigating tough conversations about how to utilize campus dining services effectively with students who struggle with adequate nutrition. I can equip these students with all the necessary information but at the end of the day, they are the ones who have to make the lifestyle decisions for themselves. The most rewarding thing for me is knowing that I can change the lives of students by assisting with their dietary needs and making parents feel good leaving their children’s meals in our hands.
5. What advice would you give to someone considering a career in dietetics?
There are more than just Clinical or Sports pathways for a dietitian. There is the community, education, culinary, food science and much more a dietitian can do.
6. What do you see as the future of the dietetics profession?
People are more aware of their health than ever before so the opportunity to connect with the general public will continue to grow. With the requirement of a Master’s degree, we will see it continue to grow and evolve at a high level. I hope people will take advantage of utilizing dietetic services as a preventative method for health rather than treating issues and diseases that could have been avoided with a better lifestyle.
7. What characteristics/personality traits do you think are essential for your specific role?
Being kind, compassionate, open-minded, and having a passion for what I do. I understand that everyone’s life experience is different, each individual has their way of absorbing information, and I have the opportunity to help expand the world of these people. So, it is important to me that I share my knowledge about food from around the world, nutrition, and my passion for culinary arts with the students at every possible opportunity.