Academy Foundation Blog

Catherine Murtha - 2022 Venesa W. Strong Memorial Scholarship

By Foundation Admin posted 03-03-2023 09:26 AM

Thomas Moses

Catherine Murtha, MAT

2022 Venesa W. Strong Memorial Scholarship

Completing a Dietetic Internship at University of California Berkeley Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway

“Changing my career from teaching to dietetics has been one of the most fulfilling decisions of my life. It was scary in the beginning, however. I had a very stable and rewarding job in the public education sector, but I felt like there was more out there for me in this field. Going back to complete my DPD requirements was inspiring and humbling, and has reaffirmed my decision. Paying for my DPD requirements drained my savings, and when it came time to pay for my dietetic internship, I found myself scrambling financially. This scholarship from the Foundation will allow me to focus my attention 100% to the dietetic internship, and pull as much learning out of the opportunity as I can. I am grateful to be receiving this scholarship.”

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

I learned about the availability of the Foundation's scholarships through my DPD director, Mikelle McCoin. She advised me to apply to help me be able to afford my continuing education. I am grateful to her for this guidance, as I probably would have had less time to complete my application without her information.

What motivated you to apply for a Foundation Scholarship?

I applied for a Foundation scholarship after I was accepted to UC Berkeley's ISPP. I am confident the program will be high quality and provide invaluable learning opportunities. The cost of the program, however, is beyond what I have in my savings, so I started looking at scholarships. I am thankful to the Foundation for providing such a diverse selection of scholarships that help folks like me be able to afford this quality education.

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

I completed my undergraduate degree in 2014. Much of that degree was paid for by my loving grandmother, and the rest was supplemented by income that came from working 3 jobs. In 2018, I completed my master's degree, working full time as a teacher and going to school part time. I paid for my DPD requirements with my savings from my years teaching, but found myself without enough remaining savings to fully finance my dietetics internship. The scholarship provided by the foundation will allow me to complete my dietetics educational program without needing to take a break. I am thankful to be able to take all that I learned in my DPD course load and apply it directly and immediately to my dietetics internship. I believe this will allow me to be a better internship and a stronger, more knowledgeable dietitian long term.

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

The advice I would give to collagues about seeking out and applying for Foundation scholarships and funding opportunities is to start early and invest in your application. The Foundation's application provides many opportunities to explain your strengths, goals, past experiences, and special circumstances that allow them to get a better sense of who you are. Spending time reflecting on these ideas before committing them to paper and submitting them with the application will benefit you whether or not you are chosen for a scholarship. The more you put into your application, the more you will get out of it.

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.