Academy Foundation Blog

Melissa M. Wallinga, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD - 2022 Commission on Dietetic Registration Doctoral Scholarship

By Foundation Admin posted 06-02-2023 09:00 AM

Melissa M. Wallinga, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD

Melissa M. Wallinga, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD

2022 Commission on Dietetic Registration Doctoral Scholarship

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

“It is a huge honor to have been awarded the Commission on Dietetic Registration Doctoral Scholarship by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. Receiving this scholarship will be crucial to my pursuit of a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition degree while allowing me to continue to strive for excellence as a mom, PICU RD, and advocate for children in both my community and abroad.”

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

Although I had previously been aware of Foundation funding, I was not aware of the specific opportunities available for doctoral students. My advisor encouraged me to research doctoral-specific scholarships and consider applying.

What motivated you to apply for a Foundation Scholarship?

My advisor at Rutgers has been integral in continuing to encourage me to apply for Foundation scholarships and helping me lean into ways I can be a part of furthering the role of the RD in clinical practice. Having applied last year, I was aware of the great work the foundation does to support education and research within the nutrition profession. However, as I have become more involved in leadership positions within the Academy over the previous year, I have gained an even better understanding of how integral the Foundation is in furthering the profession. I believe the ability the Foundation gives to professionals to continue research and education will be vital to the future of RDs in every area of practice.

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

While academic success is important to me, so is success at my work and within my family. Success in my doctoral program hinges on my family; the ability of my husband to help take care of our house and kids, and my ability to continue to spend time with and contribute to my family. Having this funding will prevent me from taking out student loans and it will allow my husband and I time with our girls instead of looking for additional income. It will also allow me to lean into whatever opportunities come my way for my advanced practice residency. The most beneficial opportunities are likely outside of my home area, meaning travel and additional time away from work. Having funding to cover tuition during this time will be a huge benefit to my family and me.   Being a recipient of the doctoral scholarship is a good reminder of the people I have in my corner, encouraging me to pursue excellence. Having people behind you who believe in the work you’re doing is an empowering feeling; it helps me to know people believe in me and the contributions I can make not only to the profession of dietetics but also to the patients and families I will encounter.

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

I would advise my colleagues to invest their time in learning about and applying for Foundation funding. Not only is it beneficial to receive funding to pursue education or conduct research, but in the process, it makes the applicant think about their goals and how they can be a part of furthering the profession. The application process gave me space to outline how I believe I can be of value to pediatric clinical nutrition, both here and abroad.

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.