Applied Nutrition student elected as student representative to national accrediting council

Kaitlyn Good, first-year master’s student in Applied Nutrition, participating in a clinical skills lab

Kaitlyn Good, a first-year master’s student in the Applied Nutrition program, was selected to serve as student representative for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the accrediting body for nutrition programs, including the programs at JMU.

“I’m a first-generation college student, so I value the opportunity to have education. I want to make sure that I’m doing my part to make this system better,” Good said.

Good will spend her first year as student representative attending board meetings over Zoom, receiving training to review programs, and participating in accreditation site visits. She will also attend two in-person meetings, one of which will take place in Chicago, Illinois, over summer 2024. Next year, Good will continue in these responsibilities with the addition of have voting privileges to weigh in on issues and reviews conducted at meetings.

Kaitlyn Good, Applied NutritionGood describes her new role as student representative “to be the student voice” in the accrediting agency for dietetics education programs. “I don’t think a conversation about reviewing programs or improving dietetics education can be done without the student voice, because we’re the ones that have to do it.”

“I’m representing JMU in a way,” Good said. Since she attended JMU for undergraduate studies too, she feels equipped to speak to a student perspective on ACEND-accredited programs.

Good was encouraged to apply for the student representative role by Jennifer Walsh, associate professor of dietetics and undergraduate program director. With her support, as well as a letter of reference from Ana Abad-Jorge, associate professor of dietetics, Good submitted her materials in November. After interviews with current student ambassadors and a few months of waiting, Good was notified of her acceptance into the role on Feb.15.

Good became interested in dietetics and nutrition through a personal connection with the concepts in the field. “I found dietetics after I had struggled with disordered eating,” Good said. After doing lots of reading to address the issue, she “stumbled upon” the works of registered dietitians and began to wonder how she too could enter this career path.

“I’m interested in the cognitive behavior-change aspect,” said Good, about dietetics. She expressed interest in becoming a “a counselor that works with people with disordered eating in a clinical office” after graduation.

However, she anticipates the experience as student representative could potentially “change her career trajectory.”

Good is considering continuing her education and entering academia, considering what she expects to gain through her service as student representative for ACEND, along with her experiences with professors in the dietetics department.

“Behind every successful program and every student’s success, there was somebody motivating them. Somebody who know they could do it and that they were capable,” Good said. For her, that somebody was the faculty and staff in Dietetics and Nutrition. “I want to be that for someone else,” Good said.

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by Lindsey Park

Published: Monday, March 18, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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