"Working as a graduate assistant at EIU was one of the most rewarding experiences while being a Dietetic Graduate student. In a summer semester before my beginning my dietetic internship, I had the opportunity to work under Dr. Jim Painter, RD, PhD, and Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, as an assistant while he also worked for the California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB). Additionally, I worked on an independent study doing research on consumer perceptions of fast food menu labels. During that time I built lasting relationships with the EIU faculty and students, developed a keen interest in research dietetics, and learned about emerging, non-traditional careers in the Dietetic profession. At the end of the summer, my assistantship turned into a part time job with the CRMB while completing my dietetic internship. Eventually, when I finished my internship and graduated, I was hired on as a fulltime Nutrition Consultant with the CRMB. Additionally, my small independent study I worked on during that summer developed into a thesis, which was submitted and accepted as a poster presentation at FNCE 2013, the national dietetics conference, and will be published as a research abstract in the October 2013 supplement of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A graduate assistantship allowed me to develop essential skills and working relationships as well as prepared me for my future career."
"Initially, when I started my MS in Dietetics, I did not have an interest in writing a thesis. Although I liked writing, the thought of a thesis seemed overwhelming and I certainly didn’t have an interesting or ground breaking topic I wanted to write about. One semester, I had heard about an opportunity to work on food psychology research with Dr. Jim Painter, RD, PhD, and Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. I thought it would be interesting to help out and I ended up working as a research assistant on several projects. Along with other dietetic students, I then developed an abstract and poster presentation which was accepted and presented at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo 2011 in San Diego, CA and was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association supplement in September 2011. Surprisingly, this opportunity heightened my interest in research, so I decided to do a thesis titled Does Menu Labeling Effect Consumer Choice? Although it took over one year to complete, eventually it was also accepted as a poster presentation at FNCE 2013, and will be published as a research abstract in the October 2013 supplement of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Little did I know, these projects were just the beginning of what was to come. Upon completing my dietetic internship and graduating, I began to work for the California Raisin Marketing Board as a Nutrition Consultant. Currently, I serve as liaison between California Raisin Marketing board research team and the Journal of Food Science for the preparation of the publication on the Supplement of the Health Benefits of Raisins which consists of five separate research studies. I served as a co-author on two of the five manuscripts which will all be published in the Journal of Food Science Summer 2013. The final project took over two years to complete, but has been a very rewarding experience. Little did I know that my initial involvement in a campus research study would lead such a passion and open doors to a future career."