What the 2021 Advancing Diversity in Dietetics Scholarship means to you?
My goal is to attain a career as a registered dietitian and be part of the change that will bridge the gap in combating diabetes mellitus within the minority community, including but not limited to Black-African Americans, Hispanics or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Natives. The vision is to become a premier resource through a diabetic wellness clinic and center in the pursuit of lowering the most prevalent members of diabetes mellitus. As such, advocate for diabetes awareness and provide the public with the right tools and resources to prevent and preserve the disease within the minority groups. In addition, my lasting impact is determined to inspire and motivate minorities within the nation into defeating this dreadful disease.
Inherently, receiving the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Advancing Diversity in Dietetics Scholarship means that I have the opportunity to work towards achieving my goal by first attending a dietetic internship program; which further allows me more time to focus on the things that will enable me to succeed within my studies at a comfortable pace. For instance, I may concentrate on my dietetic internship at Ouachita Baptist University this fall and be relieved of stress or anxiety about the cost of attendance or working multiple jobs with limited time to spare during my internship to cover my education and home expenses. Thus, gain an all-inclusive dietetic internship experience. Intrinsically, I truly get to make the most of Ouachita Baptist’s dietetic program, where I may be able to do more meaningful work, which adds value to my educational journey and career goals.
Secondly, I will graduate from Ouachita Baptist University and then apply for the registered dietitian exam to earn a license to become a registered dietitian. Due to this scholarship’s financial support, I will be more selective with my free time, such as study for the registered dietitian exam and increase my chances of passing. Moreover, there is solace in knowing that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has established a scholarship to help me and others like me diversify dietetics. As the American Political Activist and Philosopher Angela Davis stated, “you have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” Together we may all be able to make a difference in the world of dietetics.
How did you learn about the availability of the Foundation scholarship that you received?
I have learned about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics foundation Advancing Diversity in Dietetics Scholarship through Tamara Melton, MS, RDN, LD Co-founder and Executive Director of Diversify Dietetics Incorporated. I was in desperate need of financial resources to help cover the cost of my tuition after shortly discovering that the program that I am to attend this fall 2021 is not considered a graduate program to qualify to receive federal student loans. I never thought to consider reaching out to anyone for help, but I had come so far to get this close to becoming a registered dietitian, and I did not want the lack of financial resources to be the one thing that would deprive me of my goal.
So as a follower of diversity in dietetics on Instagram, I reached out to Mrs. Melton via email, asking for aid. Moreover, I specifically asked her were any scholarships or student loans available to support minorities since I had tried to apply to other private loans and scholarships. I had searched the internet to find scholarships to use and somehow did not think to connect to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; however, thank God for resourceful people like Mrs. Melton to be a helpful guide amid my storm, for it was her resourcefulness that led me to utilize this scholarship. In response to my email, she told me that I should apply for the Advancing Diversity in Dietetics Scholarship and that I did not have to be a member of the Academy to participate.
Furthermore, she informed me of the date, which was days away, along with the website link to which I immediately took her advice and started the well in-depth process of applying for this scholarship. I would love to see her face when she realizes how her responsiveness and resourcefulness aided this random person’s direct message on social media, which successfully made a significant difference in my life. I truly appreciate her and the Diversify Dietetics Incorporated Program for their commitment to making a difference and assisting minorities in the nutrition and dietetics field.
What motivated you to apply?
The lack of financial means, the denial of student loans, and supporting my son motivated me to apply for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Advancing Diversity in Dietetics Scholarship. After earning a fantastic opportunity into a dietetic internship at Ouachita Baptist University, I knew that there was no going back to the start of my career journey of becoming a registered dietitian. As such, I set forth my decision to make a difference within the society of dietetics and inspire my son to work hard at achieving his goals and dreams in life.
Nonetheless, I was accepted into Ouachita Baptist University’s dietetic program and discovered that I did not have the financial means to afford attendance. So, I started researching and networking with others to find financial coverage for my tuition. I thought all hope was lost for my son and me! I honestly had a nervous breakdown from the fear of not knowing what I would do about the cost of school and living expenses. I could not figure out how I would sustain both healthily for my son and me.
I had applied to Sallie-Mae, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and a few other student loans, but due to my credit score and the program’s lack of an integrated graduate program, I was not qualified to apply for federal or private student loan assistance. Intrinsically, I knew I needed a scholarship or grant money to aid my tuition financial costs. Especially since my financial resources were few and far between, I had been working three part-time jobs to cover extra school expenses until I could not maintain all three positions and continue my education at a healthy rate.
Moreover, I did not have help from outside sources such as family and friends as no one has the financial means to truly assist me and the educational goal that I have worked so hard to obtain. Ultimately, the best option and motivation I had was to apply for this scholarship.
What advice do you have for your colleagues about seeking out and applying for Foundation funding opportunities?
Here are some of the best tips and advice I have for my colleagues with their considerations for applying for scholarships and receiving funding through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. First, I would start early and do not postpone exploring for scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships out there, and it is hard to determine which is suitable to fit you and your needs. Hence, do your research on scholarship for rules, restrictions, requirements, and due dates.
Utilize your network! On no occasion will you undergo what someone may know to help you receive the aid you necessitate. For example, networking led me to apply for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics scholarship, and I would have missed my opportunity if I did not ask an acquaintance. Thus, ask questions from the people you have within your network and maintain your association as you may never know when you may need their assistance again.
Furthermore, collect letters of recommendation. By no means will you be aware of how many applications require them or the limited amount of time you may have to request and receive the letter, the availability from the party, or the timely fashion in which the individual may possess to distribute the letter.
Get used to writing essays. You have to do it for school, so why not try to do it for scholarships. Save time and as much effort by saving these papers into a file to refer back to or gain insight for other scholarships. Save every copy, and make sure to follow the questions given with as much of the correct information you may have saved. It is a common practice for me to keep everything because at no time will I know when I may need it again.
Practice interviewing. You want to make your first impression an excellent lasting impression on someone. So first, practice in the mirror and have a list of common questions asked of you and a good general idea of what you would say. Second, practice with a close friend or family member to critique you and provide pointers for a successful interview. Taking these steps boost your confidence and preparedness for the interview.
Lastly, apply, apply, apply! No matter how big or small because in no way will you know your chances of winning or how much those scholarship amounts add up.
Foundation Scholarship, Award and Grant Timelines and Application Process
All applications and timelines for Foundation funding opportunities are made available electronically within the Foundation’s application portal. Generally, the scholarship applications are available from mid- February to mid-April, most award and grant applications are available from December to February, and fellowship opportunities are posted as they become available.
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