Academy Foundation Blog

Natali Mendez Ortiz - 2022 Patsyjane O'Malley Memorial Scholarship Recipient

By Foundation Admin posted 05-18-2023 11:00 PM

Natali Mendez Ortiz

Natali Mendez Ortiz

2022 Patsyjane O'Malley Memorial Scholarship

Completing a Graduate Program at Colorado State University

“As a child in a mixed status family, I have seen and experienced the effects of not having the same resources as my peers. Furthermore, as a graduate student who is the first in her intermediate and extended family to continue a graduate program and move out of state, I have had to pave the way for my four younger siblings and learn to be my own advocate. Thus, I effectively take advantage of all resources and opportunities available to me. The support of the Foundation scholarship will ease financial burdens and help me remain focused in achieving my educational and career goals of completing a dietetic internship and earning the esteemed Registered Dietitian credential.”

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

As an Academy member for two years, I had received the notifications about the annual Foundation scholarships deadline. Due to shyness and self-doubting, I never applied as an undergraduate student. It wasn’t till this April while attending CANDAC 2022 in Oakland, CA that I listened to the CA Academy President Monica McCorkle speak about the numerous scholarships available open for all dietetic students and new professionals in the field. She spoke about how most recently, there were less and less students applying. I immediately worked on my general scholarship application and submitted it before the deadline thanks to President McCorkle.

What motivated you to apply for a Foundation Scholarship?

As mentioned in the previous question, I was motivated to apply to the Foundation scholarships after listening to President McCorkle encourage registered dietitians and educators to spread the word about the Foundation scholarships that were not being taken advantage of by dietetic students and interns.

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

Since separated by deportation from my parents and younger siblings, I do not have the financial assistance of my family. My education expenses have been paid for with money awarded from government grants, scholarships, loans and through full- and part-time jobs. I do not have the same advantages as others and not everyone has the same advantages as me. I am blessed to be in a country where education is valued and am given financial support by donors like the ones for this Foundation scholarship to continue learning and growing. I am grateful to receive validation for my hard work and hope to be able to give back by donating too and being an advocate for other first-generation and low-income dietetic students.

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

For my colleagues and other dietetic students who feel like there are more obstacles than victories to continuing with their education, I would like to say: “Seek out resources and take advantage of all opportunities – there is assistance for students everywhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and network – advocate for yourself and have your name known. As a member of the Academy, you are part of a community of professionals and other students going through the same path and questions as you so reach out and build relationships. Lastly, do what makes you happy – pursue your passions to perform your best.”

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.