Meghan Sullivan: Putting What She’s Learned to Work
Meghan Sullivan, who picked up her passion for nutrition from her dietitian mom, loves learning about the components of food – the carbs, the protein, the sugars – and learning which foods are healthful.
At Keene State, she’s been able to put what she’s learned to work in the field. As a summer volunteer at a Connecticut hospital near her hometown, she’s worked with low-income families that have children with weight issues. “The first week of the program we sat down and talked about basic nutrition and healthy activities,” she says, “and for the remainder of the weeks we’d go out every Wednesday and do physical activities – hikes and apple picking, things that families can do together. It’s really interesting to see the kids, over a seven-week period, change their habit and develop. And even mom and dad, whoever comes with the kids, transform, too.”
Through another volunteer opportunity, Meghan is helping to create simple menus that a Keene food co-op will provide for its customers who use food stamps. The idea, she says, is that more people will be able to serve and eat healthier meals even if they’re on a tight budget.
As part of her Food Service Management course, Meghan and a group of classmates planned and cooked an Asian meal that was served to 500 students at the Zorn Dining Commons. Her Food Science class took a field trip to Brattleboro to see how cheese is made – and were invited to roll up their sleeves and help with the process. In her Lifespan class, she learned about nutrition for all age groups, from infants to the elderly.
“The field is so versatile; there are so many things you can do – so many options,” says Meghan, whose post-graduation plans include applying to a Dietetic Internship program, which is the next step in becoming a Registered Dietitian. Then, she hopes to go on to graduate school to focus on a specialty. She’s thinking of specializing in nutrition for cancer patients.
Meghan is active in the Student Dietetic Association, a KSC organization that’s open to all students interested in nutrition. Next year, she’ll be the organization’s president. In addition to offering activities like hiking and hosting informational booths at student fairs, the group also provides mentorship opportunities with juniors and seniors counseling underclass students on course selection and more.
Her advice for new students? Create a relationship with your professors and with your peers. She and her fellow nutrition majors often study together and share ideas. And, she notes, “In some classes, there are only 12 or 14 of us, so you really get to know your professors and they get to know you. It’s awesome.”