Graduate profile - Flavia Fayet
Human Nutrition Graduate
Bachelor of Science - University of Toronto, Canada
Master of Nutrition and Dietetics - University of Sydney
Currently a dietitian and PhD candidate
A passion for preventative nutrition has taken her half way around the world. It also keeps her very busy, but that’s just the way Flavia Fayet likes it.
Born in Brazil and raised in Canada, Flavia completed a Bachelor of Science in nutrition research in Canada before realising that accreditation as a dietitian was necessary in order to spread the good nutrition message to as many people as possible.
“I loved the research aspect of my degree, but information needs to be shared to be truly useful. I google-searched ‘nutrition universities’ and investigated all the courses around the world. I picked the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics for my accreditation, because the University of Sydney is such a good university. The degree offered coursework that emphasised what I had learnt in my undergraduate degree and taught me more. It also offered practical dietetics training and a research component to help me decide my future research direction.”
“Once in Australia, I realised that the Bachelor of Science (Nutrition), would have been an ideal choice when I first began studying. I would still be able to start my PhD now, but it would have taken less time to get here.”
Flavia’s study has certainly paid off. As a sports dietitian with Sydney Uni Sport she works with the Sydney Flames basketball team. Her dietetic consultations for the team members cover a range of issues including weight loss, because agility is needed for basketball, and also pre- and post-training snacks and food preparation.
This year, Flavia also started her own consulting business, Nutriesca, so she could follow her passion for preventative nutrition her own way.
“In one-on-one consultations, I put all my university training into practise. People who work 9-5 need advice about proper nutrition and how to fit general healthy eating into their daily schedule. This is particularly important where there is a personal or family history of heart disease or diabetes.”
Even more rewarding from Flavia’s point of view are her seminars, since she can reach many more people than through individual consultations. New players of the Blue Tongues, a floorball club in North Sydney, and a Year 5 class in Canada, have both benefited from her knowledge.
“It’s exciting how much the children got out of it – the teacher commented afterwards that the kids became concerned when they forgot their milk money and began asking for breaks to go to the bubbler when they felt dehydrated!”
Flavia also writes a column for Viva, an Australian lifestyle magazine about the Latin American world.
As if that isn’t enough for one person to handle, Flavia embarked on her Doctor of Philosophy in Science (PhD) this year. “I’m conducting a three-year study of adult university females to discover whether dietary restraints (for example, vegetarianism) and dietary intake (what they eat on a daily basis) puts restrained eaters at higher risk of malnutrition.”
Since Flavia is already working successfully as a dietitian, why is she undertaking more study? “I’m the kind of person that needs to know the ‘why’ behind everything. If I have an understanding of nutrition at the molecular level I know first hand what I’m recommending to people.”
Flavia admits she likes Australia, which is just as well since she’ll be here for at least the next three years.
“For me, Australia combines the best of Brazil and Canada. The standard of living is high and the English language is one I’m proficient in, but Australia also has the laid-back lifestyle, beach culture and beauty of Brazil.”
Plan ahead by researching your options before you start your degree and continue to do so while you are studying. Pretend you have already graduated and search for jobs on the internet to see the range that is available and to get an idea of where you are heading.
Also, make opportunities for yourself. If something you want doesn’t exist, propose it. Remember the importance of networking and keep good relationships with everyone you meet in nutrition because they’ll be your future colleagues.
For more information on a career in dietetics, contact the DAA – Dietitians Association of Australia: http://www.daa.asn.au/