Meet Our Alumni

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Holly Childs

Holly Childs, MS '15

Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, George Mason University

I had recently moved to DC, so I was looking for a master’s program in nutrition in the area. Once I read the department’s mission and its well-rounded view of nutrition and health, I knew it was the right program for me. I currently teach nutrition education as an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. Through the MS in nutrition program, I gained experience designing and implementing a nutrition education initiative, which has helped me fulfil my job as an adjunct professor. I would encourage students to take full advantage of the opportunities that Mason has to offer. The MS in nutrition program is unique to the area, and the partnerships with local nutrition and health organizations, both in the government and private sector, are boundless. I would also encourage students to start thinking about the practicum vs. thesis option soon after starting the program. Meet with your advisor to get started, and it is helpful to have some ideas of your thesis or practicum project early in the program.

Mengyi Dong

Mengyi Dong, MS '15

Manager, Goma Tei Ramen

I chose the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at Mason because I felt the program had room to grow and evolve since it’s still a relatively new program. The professors in the department are very helpful and supportive. I believe I was able to utilize what I learned in my classes in the projects that we completed, and I have taken the skills I learned in nutrition education, food safety, and menu development and applied them to my current job as a restaurant manager. I hope I can contribute to the program’s continuing growth.

Amialya Durairaj

Amialya Durairaj, MS '15

Knowledge Management Specialist, Save the Children

I chose Mason’s Nutrition and Food Studies program because it was more interdisciplinary than most traditional dietetics programs. I learned how to critically evaluate scientific literature, which is crucial to my current work. In addition, my professors taught me how to frame a research question and answer it using rigorous methodology. Throughout the program I also honed my public speaking, writing and quantitative analysis skill sets which have all been very important to my work in knowledge management. Knowledge management is all about getting technical experts across the globe to communicate and collaborate each other in order to improve health and nutrition outcomes. Every day I apply my degree by researching, writing, and facilitating knowledge exchange around topics I studied in many of my classes.

Brian Head

Brian Head, MS '15

Food Services Operations Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools

As a food services operations specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools, I believe that the knowledge I gained from many of the program’s classes will be very beneficial moving forward in my career. Leaning how to properly research, read, and understand scientific articles and studies will benefit me greatly, as will the ability to write thoughtful and educated reviews of such articles. Being able to go in to a multitude of different communities and work with them to further their knowledge of nutrition is one of the best things I got out of the program. I also believe that the classes that were science-heavy forced me somewhat out of my comfort area and taught me so much when it came to the functions of nutrition and the human body.

Lindsey Seegers

Lindsey Seegers, CERG '12

Nutrition Educator, Manna Food Center

My time as a student in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies program allowed me to become further qualified and competitive in the job market, while still working full-time. I had the opportunity to go to Head Start to perform nutrition assessments for children from low-income households. I had the opportunity to research the ramifications of international hunger and malnutrition issues alongside projects on food insecurity among Washington, D.C. families. These contrasting pictures now help me serve as an advocate for Manna Food Center, educating the public on the importance—and the difference—of malnutrition verses food insecurity. Grad school is a wonderful place to explore and discover the field that truly speaks to you. In high school, I never imagined I would be a nutritionist serving families in the region where I was raised. But my studies at Mason made me realize the pressing need right here in my neighborhood.

Ashley Shaw

Ashley Shaw, MS '15

Retail Dietician, ShopRite

The MS in nutrition program is great if you are interested in community nutrition, policy, and research. I really enjoyed my time at Mason and working as a research assistant for the department made me feel like part of a family. I could always go to my professors for help with anything; they were encouraging and friendly. The diversity of the professors and their backgrounds offers an additional depth to the courses. The projects we did where we were able to interface with people outside of the classroom and apply what we were learning were the most beneficial to me.