Zelle Morefield is a Graduate student in the Nutrition and Dietetics program in the College of Human Sciences. This summer she is completing a Dietetic internship in Midland and Odessa.
As an intern, Zelle participates in a range of activities including creating meal plans, helping people with diabetes learn how to count carbs, educating dialysis patients about a renal diet, developing and cooking recipes, sitting in on bariatric counseling sessions, writing recipe blog posts, and rounding with the trauma team in the ICU.
“You get exposure to all different patient populations, professionals in the medical field, counseling styles, and potential career opportunities,” Zelle said.
Zelle was born and raised in Arizona and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona. She said she wanted to experience something new and decided Texas would be a good option. After looking at a couple of schools in the state, Zelle was drawn to Texas Tech's program for a number of reasons.
Zelle said she liked that she could get her Master's degree while completing an internship. She also liked the wide variety of rotations she could do including a level 1 trauma center, Tech's athletic department, a rehab facility, pediatric and NICU, Market Street, dialysis, the VA, school food service, and several other others.
Zelle also said the program is set up to help interns succeed. Over 90% of interns pass the national registration exam to be a licensed Registered Dietician the first time they take it.
Zelle said one of the best parts of the internship is the support system.
“The internship director, the preceptors, and the other interns really work together to help you succeed. The director and preceptors really take time to make sure you're learning all you can, push you to become a better professional in the field, and help provide unique experiences that you may not otherwise have.”
Zelle said the friendships she has developed with the other interns have also helped to push her experience beyond her expectations.
However, Zelle said her internship has also been challenging at times.
“Our rotations are 32+ hours a week and we're balancing that with our course loads from grad classes. I am working some on the weekends as well, so I have had to really stay on top of everything needed for the internship and my classes.”
Before beginning her internship, Zelle completed a semester of nutrition classes through the College of Human Sciences as well as an accelerated medical nutrition therapy course. Zelle said these classes were a tremendous help because they allowed her to brush up on some basic nutrition concepts while delving further into more advanced concepts.
“All of my nutrition professors are highly knowledgeable in their respective nutrition fields and provided assignments that challenged me and bettered my nutrition knowledge.”
Zelle said this internship was a huge step toward her professional goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian. She said seeing a variety of professional settings and experiences helped her figure out which area of nutrition she would eventually like to specialize in. She's deciding between Pediatrics and NICU, trauma and critical care, sports nutrition, and nutrition for general wellness.