Academy Foundation Blog

Christina L. Nelms, MS, RD, LMNT - 2022 Arnold E. Schaefer Memorial Scholarship Recipient

By Foundation Admin posted 05-11-2023 11:00 PM

Christina L. Nelms, MS, RD, LMNT

Christina L. Nelms, MS, RD, LMNT

2022 Arnold E. Schaefer Memorial Scholarship

Completing a Doctoral Program at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

“My family struggled with my husband being unemployed for 5 months this fall and winter.  He did some short term contract work and we are looking at potential unemployment again this fall.  I am working a full time and 2 part time jobs, trying to keep up with professional volunteer roles and am a mom to 3 children, all with special needs and helping care for elderly parents.  My income is not enought to keep up with a high-medical expense family (that has had to change insurance several times and thus keeps having to meet a deductible over and over).   Even with all I have going on - my doctorate program is something I am doing for myself.  I love learning and I don't want to put my education on hold just because of hard times.  An academy scholarship helps me continue with my education which benefits not only me, but my family, my patients and those I teach.  One of my professional roles is to each others about my niche specialty in nutrition care.  The more I know, the more those I educate know too.”

How did you learn about the availability of the Foundation scholarship that you received?

I learned about Academy scholarships through the open house I attended when I initially explored applying to the program that I am currently in.

What motivated you to apply for a Foundation Scholarship?

I was motivated to apply for Academy scholarships because I chose a prestigious program, but one that is a bit expensive.  I really fell in love with the Rutgers program when I initially considered pursuing my doctorate and now, a year in, I still really love what I am learning.  I am seeing direct applications and benefits to my work as well.  I understand why it is expensive -- in my pharmacology class, for example, I benefited from having three instructors, one of which was a pharmacist with a PhD.  I really loved the dual emphasis in nutrition and pharmacology and know that it adds expense to have many experts to learn from.  I feel like I have worked hard to promote my profession.  I have published research, helped start a non-profit nutrition-related organization, shared my knowledge and have devoted much of my career to helping clinicians learn to better their care.  Because of the devotion to my profession, I felt that I may be worthy of some help with my education; which in turn helps me help others.  I was also encouraged by my family and the academic advisors and professors to apply.

How will the scholarship funds help support your continued success within your educational program?

I want to continue with my education without an awkward pause of taking a semester off.  Taking a semester off would also significantly throw off the synchronization of my program.  The scholarship helps me be able to stay in school and continue to learn things that will enable me to be a better clinician and more quickly achieve my goal of working in nutrition research and promoting research that will provide better patient outcomes.  I want to address real clinical problems with my research since there is a paucity of literature in my niche field.

What advice do you have for your colleagues about seeking out and applying for Foundation funding opportunities?

Advice I would give colleagues seeking out and applying for Foundation funding opportunites is to keep in mind what they themselves have done for the benefit of their profession and what the advancement of their education or research can do for the profession.  Dietitians who are serious about academic achievement, research and betterment of outcomes for our patients and clients improve the influence of dietitians as a whole and highlight the importance of our occupation.  Keep this in mind when completing applications and considering funding opportunities.  The Academy is very generous to those who are generous to their profession.

Scholarship and Award Application and Timeline Information

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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With Your Help, We Can Do Even More

Our Foundation is the only charitable organization dedicated exclusively to supporting nutrition and dietetics professionals by empowering them to help consumers live healthier lifestyles. Our Foundation does not receive any portion of member dues and is funded solely by donations. Please consider making a gift today to support our Make It a Million Scholarship Campaign that will help us to award one million dollars in scholarships annually to Academy members, students and dietetic interns at all levels of study.