Kimberly Roberts, B.S. ’10 knew she wanted to get a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, but she wasn’t sure which school was right for her. Although her home state of Kansas had one school that offered the degree, she wanted to go out of state and to a smaller school. “I didn’t want to just be a number,” she said of her decision to come to Henderson. “I loved the hands-on approach and that everything was in a smaller setting so the teachers get to know you.” As one of only six universities in Arkansas that offer a specialized dietetics major, Henderson’s program is a standout in the region, she said.
She was drawn to the subject because of the widespread way nutrition affects people. “Everyone eats, and I feel like the way people eat can influence the way that they feel. If you eat well, you feel well and that impacts your whole life,” she said. In particular, Kimberly is focusing on maternal and child nutrition, an interest that stems from hearing about her mother’s experience as a labor and delivery nurse. Eventually, she hopes to work in an obstetric clinic or as an independent consultant in the field.
After graduating from Henderson, Kimberly started an internship and began a master’s degree in dietetics at Oklahoma State University—a highly selective program that accepts only 14 people per year. Since an internship is required to become a registered dietitian, Kimberly said she was particularly pleased to have secured both opportunities. She is specializing in pediatric nutrition and maternal and infant nutrition.
She said Henderson has given her some distinct advantages going into graduate school. “Coming here to Oklahoma State, I met a lot of girls who did their undergraduate education at many different places,” she said. To become a registered dietitian, you have to do rotations. At Henderson we got to observe the food management process and most of my graduate school peers hadn’t had a chance to do that. So I was more prepared when my turn came up.” She also said that Henderson’s focus on research as an undergraduate exposed her to the use of academic journals and other tools that many of her peers had not been accustomed to using.
Overall, Kimberly said her transition to graduate school was a smooth one because of the strong foundation she received in the classroom at Henderson and the extra effort put forth by her instructors. “HSU has a wonderful dietetics program, and I believe it will get you fully prepared for the next step,” she says. “The teachers at HSU have a hands-on approach and push you to your full potential.”