Skip to main content

December 2019 Graduate Receives Utah Academy of Nutrition Award

As a well-rounded intern with the ability to grasp new concepts quickly and present work clearly, Mandy Mathews is admired by her faculty and peers.

Photo by Lance Good

BYU College of Life Sciences’ Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science (NDFS) offers a combined master’s program/dietetics internship (MS/DI). Eight students are chosen each year to participate in the combined master’s program through which they can become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Due to the program’s competitive nature, Mandy Mathews, a December 2019 graduate from the program, was initially reluctant to apply. However, one of Mathews’ professors, Dr. Emily Patten, noted her abilities and encouraged her to complete an application. She was accepted and submerged herself in research and internship rotations across Utah and Salt Lake County.

“The MS/DI is the vehicle whereby dietetics students gain exposure and practice in the dietetics field through supervised practice,” Patten described. “It also provides students with graduate-level dietetics coursework and the opportunity to pursue a specialty as they complete a graduate project. Some of our students complete projects for organizations in our community and others complete formal research.”

Working with Dr. Nathan Stokes, associate professor in the NDFS department, Mathews conducted research on student-operated restaurants. With BYU’s student-run Pendulum Court Café as a reference point, Mathews interviewed managers for various other restaurants in both dietetics and hospitality programs.

In addition to her research, Mathews completed various rotations in clinical, food service, management, and leadership. Before starting the program, Mathews was unsure what she wanted to do upon completion. However, through her rotations she discovered that she enjoyed clinical dietetics work above all.

“I like the variety that you can see in clinical dietetics,” Mathews said. “[I like that] you’re helping people who are really sick and you can make a difference in their lives. There are a lot of diseases that are affected by your diet…and it’s cool to meet with all different types of patients.”

Mathews is a well-rounded intern with the ability to grasp new concepts quickly and present work clearly. Her work ethic and desire to learn new things is admired by her faculty and peers. For these qualities and excellence in her work, Mathews was recently presented the 2019 Outstanding Dietetic Students award for an internship program by the Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Mandy [is] a tremendous student who always gave her best in all that she did, and [she] contributed greatly to our program,” Stokes said. “She is attentive, hardworking, and a person of great character. We will miss her in our graduate program.”