Spring Hill, Tenn.
Rachel Morris is a junior family and consumer science major with an emphasis in food and nutrition/dietetics. She loves food and originally wanted to go to culinary school, until she found her second love: chemistry.
“I really like the chemistry component of food, and dietetics is a good combination of that,” Morris said. “I’ve loved my food science courses, because you get to learn what happens to food when you cook it and why food burns. You get to make things like salad dressing and mayonnaise and learn, chemically, why it all sticks together.”
Morris starting thinking about UT Martin after receiving a brochure in the mail, and planned a campus visit simply as “a place to start” in her college search. “When they took us outside and around the campus, I just fell in love with how beautiful it is here, and how it’s a small town and such a great atmosphere,” she said.
She came for the campus, but stayed because of her professors. “The professors in Family and Consumer Sciences are just so nice and will go above and beyond to help you. … It’s a small school and you get more opportunities that you wouldn’t have with a bigger school. You’re not just a number. You’re a name; you’re a person,” she explained. “If you have a problem or you want to talk about anything with the professors, you can, there’s nothing stopping you and they’ll know who you are when you walk into their offices.”
Morris is also encouraged by the way her professors and classes “help (her) understand the workplace (she’ll) be in after graduation.” As part of the UT Martin dietetics curriculum, she will be required as a senior to complete two weeks of job shadow experience with a professional in her field to help her choose a particular career focus. She will also have to complete a seven- to 12-month internship after graduation, as required by the American Dietetics Association, and pass the Registered Dietitian Exam to receive her professional license.
Morris, who wants to be a clinical dietitian and work in a hospital, is excited about her career options. She explained how dietitians can work not only in hospitals, but in cafeterias and restaurants, nursing homes, private in-home settings and even in classrooms, teaching others how to prepare and portion healthy food options.
In addition to her regular classes, Morris is also the vice president of UT Martin’s Student Dietetics Association, which seeks to promote nutrition and healthy food choices among the campus and local community. The group also helps provide presents, clothing and nutritional food options to a Weakley County family every Christmas.