In her role as a dietitian for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in Hot Springs County, Ark., Ashley Roberson, B.S. ’04, often meets one-on-one with her patients: pregnant and postpartum women and their children. Because she received that kind of individualized attention while at Henderson, she knows how helpful it can be. “The [dietetics] instructors were great, always available and would meet with you one-on-one if needed,” she recalled about her time at Henderson, where she said she received the knowledge base and confidence needed to succeed in a competitive field. “I loved the smaller classes, which provided a comfortable learning environment.”
Ashley, whose mother and brother are also Reddies, didn’t start out as a dietetics major at Henderson but soon became interested in the subject after taking a nutrition class. “I loved it and decided to pursue my career as a dietitian,” she said.
In addition to supportive professors, Ashley said she also benefited from a variety of hands-on activities that were part of the Henderson dietetics curriculum, including lab experiences and a practicum in food management in a local hospital. She was a member of the Student Dietetic Association, with which she performed nutrition-related community service activities. Outside of the classroom, Ashley lived off-campus and was involved in sorority life and a member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society.
After graduating, her transition to a graduate internship at Louisiana Tech University was fast-paced but smooth. “I had no problem transitioning because of the foundation I was given at HSU,” she said. She went on to earn a master’s degree in nutrition at the same institution and then moved into her current position as a WIC dietitian.
Ashley’s advice for students in the dietetics program is based on her own success: do volunteer work or find a job related to the field while you are in school. She says that the extra experience will help give them a hands-on confidence boost needed for their internship and future career.