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

Nikki Nies

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

In May 2013, I graduated from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science with a Concentration in Dietetics. I recently moved to the greater Chicago area to complete the combined dietetic internship and Master’s program at Benedictine University.

How did you become interested in nutrition?

I’ve always been a foodie. While other kids asked their parents what they were doing after school, my first question was always “What’s for dinner?” This question wasn’t because I was starving, but I was genuinely excited to know what creative happenings would occur that night.

During my undergraduate program, when I recognized I could be submersed in food in multidimensional ways, I quickly transferred from a business major to major in nutrition. Again, as a foodie, I don’t shy away from delicious foods, convinced one doesn’t have to trade flavor for health. As health professionals, we have a duty to provide clients awareness on small changes that can be made to lifestyle while sustaining taste preferences.

You have been involved in consumer communications. Tell us about that experience and something you learned.

I’m currently a research and marketing intern for Jodie Shields, MEd, RD, RDN, President of Healthy Eating For Families, Inc. (HEFF), a nutrition communications consulting in Chicago. I have been graciously been able to partake in the start to finish stages of creating HEFF’s “Time to Eat Healthy” iPhone app. This experience has been very eye opening, in regards to the mechanics and leg work needed to produce a quality app. I’ve learned the importance of clarity, quality and branding in product creation. We’re currently working on the marketing aspects of the app, discovering ways to find our niche in the app world.

What other experiences have you had in nutrition?

I’ve jumped at every opportunity as I’m always craving new experiences, abilities to help others and to add my two cents everywhere. I’ve been lucky to find opportunities as a spokesperson for “All Access Internships”, as an assistant to Nicole Hallissey, RD, retail dietitian at the ShopRite, Oakland, NJ, as a member of the awards and scholarship committee of the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and as a social media consultant for SCAN’s subunit, Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders.

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

As a dietetic student, my career goals have evolved over the last few years. Yet, my goal to increase consumer awareness of small healthy changes they can make has not changed. I’m excited by the prospects of becoming an RD as I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many directions and avenues there are in nutrition.

Specifically, some of my current interests include working with those in need of nutrition support, the geriatric population, those battling with eating disorders, the Asian community and/or merging my interest of nutrition and psychology.

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

I currently run my own blog, We Dish Nutrition, which has been a great platform for me to share my personal tips and perspective on everything nutrition. I suggest other students find their niche and run with it. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, the more exposure of the different aspects of nutrition you have, the more you know how you can contribute to our great field!

September 2014