Academy Foundation Blog

Cindy Kanarek Culver, MS, RDN, LD - Commission on Dietetic Registration Doctoral Scholarship Recipient

Cindy Kanarek Culver, MS, RDN, LD

Cindy Kanarek Culver, MS, RDN, LD

Commission on Dietetic Registration Doctoral Scholarship

Completing a Doctoral Program at Anderson University

“Anything is possible if you try, or the answer is always no if you don’t. This is a mantra that I live by because it is worth taking the time and risk of completing things that may be challenging and new to you. This was the first time I applied for the Foundation’s Scholarship Program, and it paid off. This scholarship will allow me to fulfill my lifelong dream of attaining my Ph.D.

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

While attending the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference last year, a colleague shared that she was awarded a scholarship for her doctoral program. Additionally, another colleague and mentor also received a scholarship when she was completing her doctoral program in recent years. Both encouraged me to investigate the scholarship options available within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. I reviewed the website and chose to apply for the doctoral scholarship application.  Often as members of the Academy, we wonder what benefits our membership provides. The Foundation scholarships are an excellent example of a member benefit that is available to all who are interested in professional development and educational growth. I will highly encourage my colleagues to research the options when pursuing continuing education and professional development.

What motivated you to apply for a Foundation Scholarship?

As a first-generation college student, I had amazing emotional support from my family but lacked educational guidance, so I had to navigate the college education path on my own. It’s been a long and arduous road since I worked and studied ever since I was in middle school. Yet, I felt that pursuing higher education would have long-term benefits in creating a stable career and life. I was fortunate to begin my college career as a collegiate athlete which provided me with the structure and guidance I was seeking. This opportunity helped me start my college career with a stable foundation. The rest of my college years and the dietetic internship were peppered with financial and educational challenges, but I was determined to complete my degree because being a dietitian was an aspiration that I have had since I was in fifth grade when I met my first dietitian, a friend’s mom. She told me that she “helped people eat better to stay healthier” and as an 11-year-old, that made sense and intrigued my interest.  My parents’ resilience in their lives challenges has taught me and my siblings to always move forward and work hard and not give up even when it means you may start from scratch. Now, as a parent to two college-aged daughters, I strive to model what persistence and determination looks like and what can be achieved when you set goals and work towards them.  I have thought of applying for scholarships in the past but did not think I would qualify for them because my grades were adequate but not outstanding. Even though I am very confident in my expertise as a dietitian in school nutrition, I was never a confident student until I began my PhD. program. I searched for the right program for a few years and when I found it, I knew that I would succeed because it was an internal desire versus an external demand. Completing this PhD. program will prove to me that I am a good student and that I have a lot to offer to the conversation of organizational leadership.  Because of my gained confidence, I applied for this scholarship to demonstrate to myself and my daughters that it’s never too late to pursue a goal and that asking for help is not a weakness but a strength that allows you to succeed.

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

I am so grateful for being a recipient of the Doctoral Scholarship. It’s a unique time in our family’s lives where the four of us, our daughters (a junior and freshman college student), my husband (a returning college student), and myself are all currently enrolled in a university. This scholarship will allow me to continue to pay for my tuition as I complete my program without accruing any debt while we support our daughters and my husband’s college educations. The scholarship will empower me to do my best by alleviating the financial burdens the program has put on our family. I will be able to focus on my dissertation without worrying about additional financial obligations.

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

First and foremost, check the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Leadership, Grants, and Scholarship website often. There are many options available, and the application process is simple to complete. I would also recommend that you have a trusted colleague review your application for clarity and thoroughness. Take the time and risk to complete the application. You deserve it and you will only have a chance if you put your name in the hat. The Foundation’s scholarship opportunities are truly one of the greatest benefits of being a member of the Academy. As a long-term, active member, I will seek out opportunities such as these as I continue my professional development over the years. Being a recipient of this scholarship has solidified my commitment to donate to the Foundation so that future dietitians can benefit from this as I have.

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.