Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition - A dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Madeline Engelking

Tell us yourself, education, your background, and your current interests.

Nutrition has been a passion of mine since high school. Studying nutrition is a little easier when you love it so much! I chose dietetics as a major because I believe that it is extremely important for one to study where their interests lie in order to have a gratifying profession.

A healthy and active lifestyle is also found in my family. I grew up in a household where my mom cooked healthy dinners every night, and had both parents living a fit lifestyle. They set a great example for their four girls by working out every day and eating healthy. I was an athlete during my childhood, constantly moving from one activity to the next. I have distinct memories of running from cross country practice to jumping in the car to go to club soccer practice. I also was a dancer for my high school dance team, studied hard, and kept a social life on top of it all. Therefore, I have instilled a life of multi-tasking and prioritizing my time, which will help me achieve my goals.

How did you become interested in nutrition?

My freshman year at Miami University of Ohio, I started searching for ways to get experiences in the dietetic field. For three years I have been volunteering for a non-for profit diabetes camp called Slam Dunk for Diabetes, founded by Monica Joyce, MS, RD, CDE. It is my job to monitor and react appropriately to blood glucose readings after checking levels every 30 minutes of playing basketball. It has been an eye opening experience to see such young kids so flexible and knowledgeable about adjusting their lifestyle to manage their disease. Volunteering for this camp led me to becoming their social media intern for the company, Too Busy To Diet. I have really enjoyed blogging because I have the ability to educate readers on nutrition topics in an entertaining way, given my writing style, and this is something I never knew I had the skills to do!

You have worked for companies in nutrition and as well as sports nutrition. Tell us about those experiences and something you learned. 

I worked with a food service company in my hometown gaining experience composing ingredient labels and traceability logs for new recipes. Last summer I had an internship opportunity with SportFuel, Inc, an integrative sports nutrition and wellness consulting firm founded by Julie H. Burns, MS, RD, CCN. As I make daily exercise a routine myself, I was so excited to apply what I learned at SportFuel to my own athletic life! I also was fascinated about the knowledge my mentors knew on promoting a healthy gut to address issues from asthma, to immune issues, to mental illness. We covered topics that I had no experience with in school, and my reactions to their expertise reminded me that nutrition is truly my passion, and I was eager to know more!

What other experiences have you had in nutrition?

This past fall semester I had the chance to travel the world via crew ship to twelve different countries via Semester at Sea. I was intrigued by how each country differed in their dietary norms. This became evident to me through the classes I took on the ship and experiences I had in ports. In my nutrition class we would have a speaker, a native from the port to which we were headed, give a presentation on their eating culture, traditional dishes, and places to eat the freshest foods. One of my favorite experiences was going to food markets and talking with local owners about their produce! When I returned home, I was looking forward to the next part of my nutrition experiences. I am currently working for Engagement Health as a corporate wellness health coach intern. I have realized how so much money is spent on health treatment, rather than prevention. I believe this area of health needs to be focused on for our future, and it is so important for people to be educated on health before they get to the stage of a chronic disease.

What are your professional goals? Once you become a registered dietitian, what kind of work do you want to do?

My current goal is to be accepted in to a combined MS and DI graduate program with a concentration in nutrition and physical performance. I aspire to become an RD and be involved in a professional sports team or a corporate company. My future goal is to obtain CSSD certification to develop my career and gain a competitive edge. I want to educate and provide support to athletes to help them reach their own goals. The fact that any dietitian has the opportunity to positively impact someone’s life is so rewarding. I also hope to become a certified trainer on the side! Each day I continue to realize how there is so much to understand about health and nutrition. Becoming a SCAN member is putting me one step closer to increasing my knowledge base in the nutrition field.

Is there anything else you would like to share with other students?                                                                                         

Get out there! The opportunities I’ve had all stemmed from my taking the initiative. Nothing shows your passion more for nutrition than by putting in the effort and exemplifying your desire for experiences. Building connections and having a drive for knowledge is key to develop your career and I believe hard work truly pays off.