GRADUATE PROFILE – ANNA-JANE DEBENHAM AND ALEXANDRA PARKER

Why did you study the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics?

  GRADUATE PROFILE – ANNA-JANE DEBENHAM AND ALEXANDRA PARKER

Having both come from big families, where health was a focus, food has always played an important role in our lives. We have always been interested in food, not only from a social point of view but also the impact that different foods can have on our ability to perform both physically and mentally. This is what drove us to want to learn more and alas we signed up to study the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics (also the fact that we are both science geeks!).

During our undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science) we were exposed to a couple of Nutrition subjects, which really appealed to us.

What did you get out of the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics?

The Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics enabled us to gain a thorough understanding of complex nutritional science and the way in which our body responds to food. We learnt about the importance of food in preventing and managing a variety of chronic diseases and the potential for future interventions.

The Masters provided the opportunity to experience many different avenues of dietetics with placements in Corporate and Industry Nutrition as well as Private Practice and Clinical.

It really engrained in us the importance of critical thinking. We all know how much misinformation there is around food and nutrition, and it is so important to be able critically analyse nutritional studies and get to the bottom of what they are actually showing, without jumping to conclusions.

It was gratifying to know that I had a lot of choice in terms of my future career path. I was helped greatly in this respect by the strong professional network the course helped me establish. For example, one of my practical placements was at The Cancer Council NSW and they later offered me a job after I graduated.

Where do you currently work (sector/organisation) and what is your position title? Please include a brief description of your work.

We are both currently working as Directors at The Biting Truth, which is a nutrition consulting business that we Co-Founded whilst studying our Masters. We initially started this venture out of curiosity and in an attempt to raise the profile of dietitians on social media. After completing our Masters and getting a couple of years in the workforce we took the big leap and went full time with The Biting Truth. Our business now operates as a nutrition consulting company, working with a range of small and large businesses. We are very interested in childhood nutrition and are doing some amazing work in this sector as well.

Describe a typical day/week in your role. What do you enjoy most about your work?

Work for us is very varied - which we love! As a consulting company, we are often working on projects that can range from a couple of hours to 40 or so hours a month. A typical day for us would include writing a nutrition piece for a media outlet (e.g. Huffington Post, Daily Mail), working with a childcare centre who we have partnered with on menu development and allergy management, preparing for an upcoming event (either speaking or catering), corporate wellness days, or working with food brands - it really just depends! We love that we get to choose exactly what projects we'll work on and are working on projects that are actually making a difference to peoples lives.

Do you have any advice for students considering studying this program?

If you have a passion for food and science then this is the course for you! It is a very science-based course, so it's really important that you love the nitty gritty science. Once you start the program we recommend seeking opportunities to get work experience in areas that you're interested in, as it makes a huge difference once you're finished.


GRADUATE PROFILE – LOUIS CHEN

Why did you decide to study the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics?

GRADUATE PROFILE – LOUIS CHEN

When I was a child, I got sick very easily. I often went to see doctors, but I was still in poor health. Eventually, I found that it was my own habits that were making me sick and that I should correct my habits. Consequently, I became interested in nutrition and health science and changed my career path. I did my research in this area and found that the University of Sydney offered a very practical course in this area.

What did you get out of the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics?

The most significant thing I learned is scientific thinking, which helps me to tell science from lies. I also learned a lot of useful communication consultation skills, which developed a strong foundation for my current career.

Where do you currently work (sector/organisation) and what is your position title? Please include a brief description of your work.

I am building a startup nutrition consultation company with my classmate Anna. I am one of the founders of this company. We are trying to incorporate the latest IT and BT technology to deliver an effective weight loss program for our clients and created an online platform where nutritionists and dietitians could coach our clients online.

Describe a typical day/week in your role. What do you enjoy most about your work?

Since I am a founder, my day is spent on a variety of different roles that I need to fulfill. For example, in the morning I will have meetings with my teammate discussing the current situation of our company and make decisions about its development. In the afternoon, I often interview potential employees and I will teach some of our nutritionists on how to do online consultations, update the online system or fulfil marketing strategies.

Do you have any advice for students considering studying this program?

This is a great program which focuses on the practical side of nutrition. It will teach you how to do consultations and equip you with the latest research on nutrition and dietetics.