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Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Awards and Scholarships

NDFS faculty and students were recognized with distinguished awards and scholarships by the Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Utah’s current and future dieticians are doing great things, and many of them are members of BYU’s College of Life Sciences community. The Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (UAND) has recognized faculty member Emily Patten, along with students Mckenna Jones, Elyce Gamble, Gretel Tam, and Jessica Cortez with awards and scholarships for their commitment to nutrition and dietetics.

Photo by SJ Tittle/BYU

Recognized Young Dietician of the Year—Emily Patten

Dr. Emily Patten is an assistant professor of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science. She first joined the UAND as an undergraduate student. Since that time, Patten’s passion has shifted from nutrition to dietetics and finding ways to help dietitians be more effective as they provide care. “I am passionate about dietetics because, as a profession, we can empower people and communities to make choices about their nutrition that will help them improve or maintain their health,” Patten says. She finds this award especially meaningful because of the relationships and experiences that were made possible through the UAND.

Outstanding Dietetic Student for Dietetic Internship- Mckenna Jones

In order to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), you have to complete a 1200-hour internship through an accredited program. This program allowed Jones to work with a dietitian at Primary Children’s Hospital in the oncology unit. At the beginning of her internship, Jones felt uncertain, nervous, and overwhelmed, but her relationships with mentors Dr. Patten and Dr. Williams assisted Jones through the process. Each rotation of her internship was essential in helping her grow, learn, and decide what she would like to do as a future dietitian. “I’m excited to become a dietitian to make an impact and empower others in my community to live healthier lives with the skills BYU’s program has helped `me develop,” Jones says. She appreciates that some of the people she admires the most nominated her for this prestigious award.

Outstanding Dietetic Student for Didactic Internship—Elyce Gamble

Elyce Gamble started the didactic program to prepare herself for a dietetic internship and to take the registration examination for dietitians. Through the program, she was exposed to a wide variety of topics as she worked as a nutrition consultant at BYU Women’s Services and Resources. Gamble is passionate about dietetics and says, “Nutrition is the best form of preventative health care.” She continues to explain, “As we make peace with food and our bodies, we can live our healthiest and happiest lives.” This award represents the many hours Gamble dedicated to studying dietetics, as well as the remarkable investment of her professors, mentors, and family members. Gamble will start BYU’s combined Dietetic Internship and Master’s program this spring.

UAND Scholarships

Gretel Tam received a scholarship from the UAND. She is thankful for the faculty and classmates in the dietetics program that helped her gain a deeper passion and love for health and nutrition. She is passionate about dietetics and her future work: “Eating plays a huge role in improving our life quality and wellbeing.” Tam’s next step is working for LDS Charities on food security and clean water projects.

Headshot of Jessica Cortez

Jessica Cortez was also awarded a scholarship from the UAND. She is grateful for her professors Ana Mitchell and Julie Duncan who have helped her obtain this achievement. She loves nutrition because seeing it “applied in the medical field to support the healing process” emphasizes how critical it is to our health. Cortez is motivated to “go forth and serve” as a future RDN. This spring, Cortez will start BYU’s Master of Nutritional Science and Dietetic Internship program.