I am the youngest child of five children in my family. My parents obtained their bachelor degrees from Faulkner University when they were in their mid-40’s, and that was shortly before I began my freshman year at Auburn University in 2002. I only had one sibling at that time that had already graduated from college and she had attended an HBCU, Talladega College. I had an older brother who was in his senior year at the University of Alabama when I began my freshman year at Auburn. So, I was starting with a limited amount of guidance on how to navigate through college and especially a predominately white institution (PWI).
That lack of guidance and personal hardships, including the death of one of my brothers from sickle cell disease during my junior year, left me unsure of how to choose my path in college. I was originally a pre-nursing major because I was always told that I was a great nurse to my brother when he was experiencing his sickle crises. When my brother passed, I began to reassess what I really wanted to do with my education and future career.
During the last years of undergrad I became an SOS orientation leader, which helped me understand fully the help that Auburn can provide with free tutors. I changed my major to nutrition and food science with a concentration in dietetics. Changing my major caused me to basically start all over in my courses. I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in 2009.
My first job was with the Georgia Department of Public Health-WIC Program, in which I was hired for a month before my undergrad graduation. Unlike any of my nutrition major peers, I was the only one in my class that pursued a job versus applying for an internship to become a Registered Dietitian.
After working for the Georgia WIC Program for three years, I was accepted into a dietetic internship with the Sage Colleges in Troy, New York. The distance program allowed me to continue to work while completing 1200 hours of unpaid work experience at different nutrition programs and with the East Alabama Medical Center.
Once I passed my board exam and became a Registered Dietitian, my career really accelerated. I’ve worked as a WIC nutrition manager, renal dietitian at DaVita dialysis, nutrition program specialist at the state WIC office, and now as a clinical dietitian with Emory Healthcare. My career has put me in position to work and speak in front of the CEO of Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Deputy Directors of the Georgia Department of Public Health, several physicians and other healthcare providers.
Now I am in position, after years of various experiences within my career, to begin my entrepreneurial journey. In December 2020, I launched my business, The Georgia Renal Dietitian. Within my business I provide nutrition counseling to patients that have chronic kidney disease. Auburn helped me prepare for my career, especially with the resources that I discovered while serving as an orientation leader.
I’m sure the experience is different for students now, but I will always advocate for more aggressive outreach to the students to inform them of the assistance that Auburn provides with helping students excel in their courses. This is especially important for students that are like me and did not have any or many family members that had already attended college.
I am an ’09 Auburn alumna and the wife of an 11’ Auburn alumni. We are both excited to see what college our daughter Ava decides to attend, we are both rooting for Auburn, and we are comforted to know that she will have both of her parents to help provide her guidance. War Eagle!