UTK Trainee Spotlight: Marissa Black

UntitledMarissa Black is a graduate student studying Public Health Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been an MCH trainee since January 2018. She will complete her Dietetic Internship in 2020 and hopes to work in pediatrics as a registered dietitian.

Every Spring and Fall semester, the Public Health Nutrition Program at the University of Tennessee hosts the Promoting Healthy Weight Colloquium. The colloquia focus on assessing, preventing, and treating obesity in the maternal and child population. This Spring’s colloquium focused on interprofessional collaborations to promote healthy weight.

This Spring was my first opportunity to help organize a colloquium as an MCH trainee, and I was invited to promote the event on live tv. One of our former MCH Nutrition Leadership trainees who has connections with the local media was able to secure a spot on the set of Live at Five at Four, a local news segment here in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was nervous when I found out I would be on tv, but after preparing a script and rehearsing over and over again, I finally felt confident enough to deliver the information.

Being on the set of a news channel was a surreal experience. I had always imagined there would be an audience, but the studio was surprisingly quiet. The camera crew and anchors were very personable and made me feel more comfortable about speaking on live tv. I now feel like a local celebrity! I’m very thankful for the opportunity I had to practice communicating on camera.

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Marissa joined former MCH Nutrition Leadership Trainee Lee Murphy on the local news

UTK Trainee Spotlight: Alexandra Alford

Alexandra is a trainee at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Alexandra has been funded by the MCH Nutrition Leadership, Education and Training Program since August 2015, and is currently completing her dietetic internship.

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Each semester at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, we plan and lead leadership workshops for the first-year students in the Public Health Nutrition program. These workshops allow students gain additional leadership skills and collaborate with their classmates to form better relationships. Since I am now a third-year student, I had the opportunity to lead some of the sessions.

Initially, I was a little worried about whether or not I was prepared, and if students would take me seriously since I was one of their peers. However, after looking at the materials provided and remembering my own experiences I was able to relax about the situation a little more. I also realized that this was a valuable experience and I needed to appreciate and delve into this opportunity.

I’ve helped with leadership workshops that ranged in topics from personality testing to organizational leadership skills. All have allowed me to learn more about my peers, but also a little more about myself. I was able to come full circle, from participating in the activities to leading them, which allowed for self-reflection in addition to the leadership and training skills that were gained. Again, these leadership workshops are beneficial for growth in the new graduate students and myself. They have helped me gain a better understanding and appreciation of my role as an MCH Nutrition trainee!

-Alexandra Alford, MCH Nutrition Trainee, University of Tennessee

UTK Trainee Spotlight: Marissa McElrone

Marissa McElroneMarissa has been a funded MCH Nutrition Leadership, Education and Training Program trainee at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville since January 2016. This blog post entails her recent appointment as an ambassador in the MCHB Trainee Ambassador Group.

MCHB’s Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG)

Starting this January 2018, I will be serving a 12-month term as a member of the Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG). Established by MCHB’s Division of MCH Workforce Development (DMCHWD) in 2015, TAG is an ongoing vehicle for working collaboratively with trainees of the MCH Training Program. TAG is composed of trainee representative from a range of DMCHWD programs including:

  • Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)
  • Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)
  • MCH Nutrition
  • MCH Pipeline
  • Pediatric Pulmonary Centers (PPC)
  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP)
  • Centers of Excellence in MCH (CoE)

 The goals of the TAG are to foster connections between trainees across the MCH Training Program, provide trainees with leadership development opportunities, and strengthen the link between trainees and MCHB.

Through the TAG, MCHB is:

  1. Strengthening the link between trainees and MCHB
  2. Increasing awareness about the importance of utilizing and engaging trainees
  3. Increasing current trainee awareness/knowledge about the full range of training programs
  4. Improving communication and collaboration among trainees within and across training programs
  5. Facilitating connections between current and former trainees
  6. Providing trainees with additional leadership development opportunities

The TAG provides trainees with the opportunity to conceptualize, develop, and lead efforts to facilitate trainee connections via activities such as a mentoring program, trainee forums, and collaborative research projects.

For information about eligibility and TAG ambassador roles and responsibilities visit the TAG informational page on the MCHB website. Also, check out this TAG introductory video the 2015 cohort created. I look forward to sharing more about my experiences on TAG as the year continues!

-Marissa McElrone, MCH Trainee, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 

UTK Trainee Spotlight: Ruth Zegel

IMG_0369Ruth is a trainee at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ruth was a funded MCH Nutrition Leadership, Education  and Training Program trainee from January 2017 until December 2017 and is currently completing her dietetic internship.

Live at 5 at 4: Promoting MCH Nutrition Events on Local Media

Each semester at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, we plan and host the Promoting Healthy Weight Colloquium. Each colloquium focuses on various topics relating to the promotion of healthy weight among the maternal and child health population. Past colloquia have addressed maternal obesity, infant feeding, early childhood, children with special healthcare needs, hunger and food insecurity, and most recently novel interventions with children and youth.

When putting on this event for 900+ participants (including onsite and webcast participants), there are many tasks that must be completed by the MCH Nutrition Leadership Team. Typically, one trainee is in charge of the colloquium for that semester and delegates various tasks to the whole leadership team. This past fall, I was given the task of promoting the colloquium on our local news station, WBIR. For many years, the Department of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has had a great relationship with WBIR, consisting of guest appearances by some faculty members to talk about nutrition. This relationship allows us to showcase the colloquium on a segment entitle “Live at 5 at 4.”

I don’t know about you, but until this experience, I had never even been on a local news set! This was definitely an eye-opening and entertaining experience. As future leaders within the field of nutrition, it is important for us to learn how to interact in front of a camera. What better way to learn then to jump right in! When I first got on set at WBIR, I remember thinking that there were so many monitors and lights in front of me. I even asked, “where do I look?” I was completely clueless. Being on “Live on 5 at 4” gave me the chance to practice my communication skills in front of a camera, and it was so fun! There’s still plenty of growing room as I continue to learn how to appropriately interact with the media, but this interaction definitely helped me grow in my confidence and abilities!

Interacting with local media in a positive way is so useful to promote events or nutrition tips. It’s important for us to advocate for the field of nutrition, and sometimes that might mean being in the public eye.

Check out this clip to see what the set looks like from behind the scenes!

-Ruth Zegel, MCH Nutrition Trainee, University of Tennessee