A well-accomplished April

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Though this April felt much more like winter than spring, I feel my career is beginning to bloom. Aside from being accepted into a dietetics internship in Keene, New Hampshire (more about that soon!), the Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND) successfully executed its inaugural Bite-Sized Cook-Off on April 5 and the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND) held another insightful conference from April 17-19.


Every year, the senior dietetics students organize and host a chef event for the public, in which SAND sponsors. This year was different. This year, SAND created a learning opportunity for its student members while raising funds for professional development. Four teams of dietetics students were organized and were given these parameters: create a meal containing an appetizer, entrée and dessert to be served to 50 guests in bite-sized portions with a budget of $75.

Being its first year, the back of the house was in chaos with people rushing to get the food plated. The front of the house, on the other hand, was adorned with white table cloths, black linens and colorful centerpieces while Anna Huemann, music education major, and Carolyn Matthews, interior architecture major, filled the air with the sweet sounds of their cellos.

Much like the Iron Chef, the guests of the sold-out event tasted each course present by each team and were asked to vote for their favorite dish to determine the winner of the “Salad Fork,” “Dinner Form,” “Dessert Fork” or “Dinner Plate” award according to the votes. Though this event was mostly for fun, students were able practices skills in do meal planning and budgeting, marketing, layout design and hospitality.


WAND Conference

When I checked in at the WAND conference on April 17, I received my name tag. To my surprise, I also found a little green ribbon with “Moderator” written on it. As a student, it was something I could be proud of.

My involvement with WAND started with some curiosity same four years ago when I attended my first WAND conference at the Kalahari. (Ripple effect as time goes back to 2010.) I went from session to session keeping to myself intimidated by the seasoned registered dietitian. I was surprised that there were no sessions for students.

The first time I suggested having a student conference, I was turned down very hard. That didn’t stop me though. To sum it all up, the first ever student session was granted, which had over 60 students and interns attend. I was invited back to plan the second annual student session along as contribute to the rest of the conference. (Ripple effect back to just a couple weeks ago.)

To promote leadership, as what the student session was created out of, 15-year-old Peyton Medick from Weston, Wis., was invited to speak about her non-profit Peyton’s Promise, which she started at age eight. Her inspiring story of why and how she began collecting food reinforced that leaders emerge at any age and a difference can be made prior to being a professional in the field. Peyton has collected 90 tons of food for food pantries throughout Wisconsin and across the nation. She also carried the 2012 Summer Olympics torch in London last summer.

What stood out the most to me were the two communication sessions that were offered. Both these sessions, one of which I moderated, reinforced my decision to stay in school longer to pursue a double major in dietetics. Nearly half the times I’ve told people about my double major, I’m given a questioned look with a comment along the lines of, “Why? They have nothing to do with each other.” In my mind, they have everything to do with each other.

As April comes to a close and winter finally subsiding (knock on wood), remember that spring is a time of growth. Take some time to reflect on how far you’ve grown personally and professionally and how you can continue to grow in the future. And last, but definitely not least, take some time to enjoy the growth all around you.


Song Xiong is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in dietetics and communication.