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March Student Spotlight

Edward Wiesneth

Bio: Originally from Chicago, Edward Wiesneth has resided in Miami for the past five years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Roosevelt University and worked in the finance industry for 13 years before returning to school. Edward graduated in May 2023 with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from Florida International University, completing his dietetic internship mostly at the Bruce W. Carter Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami. He is now thrilled to be part of the team as an inpatient dietitian. Edward is passionate about maintaining a balance between hard work and self-care, enjoying activities such as going to the gym, savoring delicious food, and spending quality time outdoors with his husband.

 

  1. Can you tell me about your undergraduate/graduate program in dietetics? What made you choose this field of study?

 

“My graduate program in dietetics and nutrition at Florida International University was a very well-rounded program that was focused on research. I believe this focus was valuable for my future career as an evidence-based clinician. I chose to pursue dietetics as a career change because I have always been interested in nutrition and food. I became excited at the prospect of being able to talk about these things as a career and to help others. Before I decided on this career change, I was reflecting on my past and I realized that I already liked to learn about nutrition; however, I would become frequently confused by the vast amount of information available and not knowing what what is. I wanted to become an expert so that I could help others cut through the misinformation and give them real, scientifically backed information that can help them become healthier. Throughout most of my previous career endeavors, I did not feel connected to the work I was doing, and I knew that I wanted a career that focused on helping people.”

 

  1. 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?

 

“While all my coursework was valuable in one way or another, three courses come to mind that I believe gave me the most base-level knowledge: Medical Nutrition Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, and Counseling.  I believe that to become a great dietitian, one most have a solid knowledge of MNT and gain clinical experience in an inpatient setting. These two clinical courses confirmed I chose the right career path and everything I learned I was able to apply during my dietetic internship at some point. Learning counseling techniques taught me the many ways an RD can interact with clients/patients to help them set or realize their nutrition goals.”

 

  1. Did you have any specific research or internship opportunities related to nutrition during your studies? If so, can you share a memorable experience or project you worked on?

 

“During my internship I was asked to do some research and create a presentation for implementing a low-histamine food diet for long COVID patients. A physician I met who worked with long COVID patients was experimenting with this diet as a nutrition intervention, and she saw improvement in many long COVID patients’ symptoms. I enjoyed this project because it was a great example of how sometimes as clinicians, we can use our judgement and recommend different diets for conditions which may not be well documented in the literature, as was the case here.”

 

  1. 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 master’s program, I volunteered with FIU’s Healthy Living Program by participating in various events held on campus throughout the school term, such as small tabling events and larger scale events. For example, one of the events was about balanced meals, which included giving nutrition education and a fun activity to help engage the students. These events were fun for me because it gave me the first opportunity to talk about my knowledge with others. It led to some fun and interesting conversations which made me excited about my future career path.”

 

  1. 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?

 

“I found my entire inpatient clinical rotation of my dietetic internship to be very challenging, even though I immensely enjoyed it at the same time. During my studies, we learned about one medical condition at a time, for the most part. In the hospital, almost all the patients had several medical conditions occurring simultaneously. The challenge was to focus on 1) what is the priority, and 2) ask myself what can I do to help this person eat/feel better now? I am still working on developing these skills.”

 

  1. 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?

“The knowledge and skills I obtained from my studies and internship were so vast I couldn’t possibly list them all here. First, I developed a good baseline of knowledge before I even began my internship. During my studies, since my program was grounded in research, I had many opportunities to conduct literature reviews and take several deep dives into various topics, which will be an important skill to have moving forward into my career as an evidence-based practitioner. Another skill I learned during my studies and during my internship is to treat each patient/client individually and address their nutritional needs as such. There is no one size fits all nutritional intervention. I also worked on developing my listening skills during outpatient sessions and resisted the urge to flood the patient with too much information. I also learned the importance of patients’ focus on small goals and those can lead to more goals and bigger goals in the future.”

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