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Paola Babb is the Community Engagement and Child Nutrition Manager at Hunger Free Colorado, where she supports communities to increase access and participation in Child Nutrition Programs. Hunger Free Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization founded in 2009, connects families and individuals to food resources and fuels change in systems, policies and social views, so no Coloradan goes hungry. Paola was a DREAMer and has experience convening the voices of those most impacted and with lived experience. She worked for WIC for several years, and most recently managed the Food Pantry at Growing Home a non-profit in Westminster.
In my journey to become a nutrition professional, the MSU Denver Nutrition Department played a vital role in my success today as a Nutritional Health Coach. In my time as an undergraduate student at MSU Denver, the Nutrition Department provided me with the tools I need to effectively help clients reach their health and wellness goals. Earning my Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics provided me with a well-rounded education in nutrition. The classes I successfully completed from community nutrition to my senior seminar class prepared me for teaching nutrition classes and how to evaluate and effectively contribute to the health of my community. Medical nutrition therapy and nutrition counseling prepared me with the skills to recommend dietary and lifestyle change and perform motivational interviewing and explore behavior change in my coaching sessions. One of the most rewarding and exciting parts about what I get to do as a health coach is working with clients one on one to improve their health and get them excited about making lasting and meaningful changes to their diet and lifestyle. The world of nutrition is dynamic, and I enjoy furthering my nutrition education through earning continuing education credits each year. Supporting community partners, such as businesses and health care providers, to collectively improve the health of people in the community is another exciting facet to my role as a Nutritional Health Coach. My success as a nutrition professional all began at MSU Denver.
Jonathan Padia is a Professional Research Associate with the University of Colorado. He found this career option during a two-week rotation in his Dietetic Internship. Jonathan’s advice for someone who is thinking about becoming an RDN is to network as much as possible! The local organizations of Denver Dietetic Association (DDA) and Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND) are a great place to start. These organization offer conferences and networking opportunities for students.
“I feel the nutrition classes I had at MSU Denver were very complete, and definitely helped me prepare for the Dietetic Internship. The instructors were very encouraging and offered volunteer opportunities, which helped prepare me for the professional world.” | “Siento que las clases de nutrición que tuve en MSU Denver fueron muy completas y definitivamente me ayudaron a prepararme para la pasantía (internship) dietética. Los instructores siempre fueron muy alentadores y ofrecieron oportunidades de voluntariado, lo que me ayudó a prepararme para el mundo profesional.”
Ana Sofia Abbud, RDN ’16
BS in HND Alumni Testimonial
“My experience at MSU Denver allowed me to learn about many types of careers in the dietetics field. From the first time that I heard from an RDN that worked for Cherry Creek School District, I knew that school nutrition was where I needed to be. I realized while sitting in the classes that although clinical RDN’s are so important and needed, I wanted to help people at a young age. Hopefully helping to reduce chronic diseases before they were adults and ended up in the hospital. The faculty showed so much enthusiasm for the profession and really made me want to learn more!”
Tara Gonzales, RDN, SNS ’16
BS in HND Alumni Testimonial