Gaining Practical Nutrition Experience – Part 2

There are many opportunities to gain experience related to your career goals in nutrition. Leadership skills can be developed through virtually any organization that interests you.  Groups do not need to be related to nutrition, though our Student Nutrition Association is an excellent place to gain valuable experience.  Skills in time management, organizing, delegating, communicating, and collaborating may occur through fraternities and sororities, religious organizations, clubs, sports, professional organizations and many others.  Our college also offers two excellent leadership opportunities.  The Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Global Leadership Initiative.

Would you like to gain some experience in community nutrition?  Consider contacting the Diet Assessment center located in the Chandlee building.  The state headquarters for the Pennsylvania Nutrition Education program, TRACKS is here in State College. They often have projects which students can help with.  Contact your local extension agent for opportunities in counties outside the State College area. Penn State Extension offers volunteer experiences and brings food and agriculture resources to counties throughout Pennsylvania.   Visit their web site at  for more information.  Several initiatives related to Sustainability have opportunities of interest to nutrition students.  HealthWorks is a peer education, outreach program through University Health Services and offers opportunities for students to bring a variety of health and wellness topics to the Penn State Community.  You can earn academic credits by participating.  Consider volunteering at the State College Food Bank or Meals on Wheels program.

Food Service Management opportunities are abundant in the University and State College area.  Penn State Campus Dining typically hires two senior level Student Nutrition Assistants each spring to help with meal planning and education for students with food allergies or other nutritional needs. Any experiences in food preparation can be beneficial. Frequently nutrition students who work in the same facility for a few semesters move into management positions where they gain additional valuable experience.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities.  There are a wide variety of possibilities.  It just requires your energy and enthusiasm to make them a reality.

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