Graduate profile: Hayley Griffin

Hayley is a graduate of the University’s Master of Nutrition and Dietetics course. She has just submitted her PhD thesis at the University of Sydney and has been working as a Nutrition Project Officer with The Cancer Council NSW during her candidature.

Why did you decide to study this course?

I wanted to expand my skills and learn more about the human body. I had a background in medical science and pathology, so I wanted to do a course that I knew would meet the standards of rigor and professionalism this previous experience had instilled. It also allowed me to pursue my specific theoretical interests, as well as my passion for food and cooking. The Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Sydney was a standout among the numerous courses I considered. It has an excellent balance of coursework, clinical experience and research. I knew my education would have a solid foundation in the theoretical core of the subject, as well as the practical and research applications. The strong component in biochemistry was also attractive to me given my science background, as was the opportunity to study at such an iconic and prestigious university.

It was also important that at the end of the course I would meet the criteria for accreditation by the Dietitians Association of Australia. This means that I can now practice as an Accredited Practising Dietitian in the community. This is a professional accomplishment of which I am very proud.

What did you get out of this course?

I gained a wealth of knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, including food and nutrition, chronic disease processes and management, working with patients and other health professionals, hospital systems, public health and research. One of the highlights was the opportunity to attend practical classes in the kitchens of the Ryde TAFE College, where we learnt about cooking techniques, recipes and special diets from the hospitality staff.

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.

What have you done since completing this course?

I had enjoyed the research component of the program so much that I chose to return to the University to complete a PhD. I also accepted a part-time position as a Nutrition Project Officer at The Cancer Council NSW where I helped to develop position statements and brochures on nutrition and cancer prevention. I have also presented lectures to dietetic students at the University of Sydney on diet and cancer risk.

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

This course provides an excellent opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge on food and human nutrition at a highly regarded institution. It doesn’t matter if you already know what kind of job you would like when you start. There is a range of employment and further learning opportunities available to you at the end.