Biography: Brinya is a current graduate student in the combined MS/DI program at FSU. She is studying exercise physiology with a major in sports nutrition. When she’s not in classes or studying, she is in the field with Second Harvest of the big bend, going out into the community providing nutrition education to underserved communities.
- Can you tell me about your undergraduate/graduate program in dietetics? What made you choose this field of study?
Having earned my B.S. degree in Dietetics from Florida State University (FSU), I chose to continue my education here, and pursue my master’s degree in Exercise Physiology with a major in Sports Nutrition. What makes FSU special for me is that they offer exactly what I am looking for in terms of the Dietetic Internship. Currently, I am in the combined master’s program and Dietetic internship, meaning that all my internship rotations are tailored to my schedule, curriculum, and interests. I fell in love with nutrition, health, and fitness all at once, when I embarked on a personal weight loss journey that taught me about the importance of living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. I yearn to help others realize that “health” comes in many different forms and should be adopted with confidence and excitement.
- Have you been involved in any volunteer work related to nutrition or dietetics? How has that experience influenced your career aspirations or understanding of the field?
During my undergraduate time at FSU, I made it my mission to immerse myself into many opportunities that allowed me to develop a spectrum of skills that would allow me to become a great leader, problem-solver, and future dietitian. Over the course of 4 years, I became a member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitian Association (CPSDA). Here, I was a scholarship recipient for the CPSDA Sports nutrition bootcamp, where I learned an immense amount of information about this growing field. Additionally, I was a founding member of Women in Sports Association at FSU, in which I worked alongside faculty to develop the vision and mission of this organization, in which we emphasized the importance of women in sports, whether it be our knowledge, drive, or passion. I also volunteered at the sports nutrition “Fuel Bar” for the FSU athletic department. Lastly, after serving on the executive board in my 3rd year, I earned the role of President of the Student Dietetic Association. I attribute most of my growth as a leader in nutrition and dietetics to this position. I learned effective communication skills, time management, and the importance of interpersonal relationships. All of my experiences have molded me in some way to have a greater appreciation of our field, and I am blessed that I have had the opportunity and support of friends and family to get to this point in my academic career.
- Can you share a challenging situation you encountered in your academic or work experience related to nutrition? How did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?
As a nutrition educator working with a local non-profit organization, I have been blessed with firsthand opportunities to educate communities on healthy eating and the importance of nutrition. While I feel great fulfillment, this position has allowed me to realize that not everyone has the resources or necessities that we take for granted every day. I’ve been moved to tears in recent events, as a family of four opened up to me that during the most recent hurricane, they went without fresh water and palatable food for up to a month. In those moments, you could see the gratefulness exuded from their eyes, that I was there to provide them with nutrition education and produce that will not only benefit their family, but their health as well. Emotional challenges have allowed me to self-reflect and have empathy for everyone within out field.
- What are some of the key skills you have developed throughout your educational and professional journey in nutrition? How do you believe these skills will benefit you in your future career?
Although I am always learning, I strongly believe that through my experiences, I have sharpened my leadership and communication skills. I have also developed another level of professionalism within healthcare, especially carrying yourself as a woman within this field. Most importantly, I have grown to know the worth of my knowledge. I believe that combined with grit, these skills will allow me to have a strong voice within the field and give me the opportunity to grow with the field of nutrition and dietetics.
- What were some of the most valuable courses you took during your program, and how did they contribute to your understanding of nutrition and dietetics?
I really enjoyed the chemistry and metabolism sequence in our curriculum. Learning about the metabolic processes of how we utilize the foods we eat greatly contributes to understanding the depth of nutrition and dietetics, especially as it relates to chronic diseases, athletic populations, maternal, and pediatric populations.