Alumni Spotlight: Ellen McEwen - Presenting dietetics and nutrition research at national conference

by Jordana Newman  |   

Ellen McEwen standing next to poster
Ellen McEwen presenting a poster of her graduate research project at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in October 2023. (Photo by Ellen McEwen)

Dietetics and Nutrition (DN) alumna Ellen McEwen was selected to share her student research project results at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics conference in Denver, CO last month. She presented An Assessment of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ Attitudes and Behaviors in Culinary Medicine and the Role of the RDN and is excited her UAA research is being recognized after graduating last spring. 

Name: Ellen McEwen

Hometown: North Pole, Alaska

Graduation Date: May 2023

Degree: Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition

What brought you to the UAA College of Health?
My husband was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks in 2019. Fortunately, UAA's dietetics program is online so I was able to jump into classes right away.

Why did you choose the DN graduate degree program? 
I was attracted to dietetics because of how broad the profession is. Dietitians can work in public health, schools, hospitals, clinics, government, private sector, and more. Currently, I work at Alpine Medical Group in Fairbanks as an outpatient dietitian. I enjoy this setting because I can work with patients one-on-one to help them achieve their nutrition goals.

Were you involved in any student organizations while you were at UAA?
Believe it or not, I did not set foot on UAA's campus until a week before my graduation! While I was in school I volunteered at my local food bank which helped emphasize to me how important food access programs are. Many people in Fairbanks would be without food if it weren't for the excellent work of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank.

Ellen McEwen
Ellen McEwen at her current job as an outpatient dietitian at Alpine Medical Group. (Photo by Ellen McEwen)

Did you have any practicum placements or other experiences while you were pursuing your degree?
My graduate program included supervised practice with dietitians in my community. My rotations were great exposure to different fields of nutrition, including food service, public health, and inpatient and outpatient care. I was also able to travel to Nome for a two-week rotation which expanded my knowledge of nutrition care in rural Alaska. I also completed a graduate research project which I presented as a poster session at a national dietitian conference in Denver recently.

What words of wisdom do you have for those who are still considering their options after high school?
Take your time! You don't have to have your life or career path figured out right now. School is a great opportunity to explore different options and see what's out there but there's always time in life to change course.

Do you have a favorite professor and if so, why?
The whole dietetics and nutrition faculty is excellent! They all genuinely cared about my well-being and were invested in my success.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
Hiking, cross-country skiing, reading, cooking, baking, fishing

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