Lamar University Dietetic Internship

an aerial view of the Lamar University campus

Happy Tuesday, everyone and Happy early Thanksgiving! This week I’m proud to present an interview with Dr. Jill Killough, the Program Director of the Dietetic Internship at my school, Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas!

Dr. Killough earned her undergraduate degree at Lamar and has been teaching there for almost twenty years. In that time, her role has expanded from teaching to encompass running the dietetic internship program at Lamar. I invited her to tell me more about the school’s internship (not only for the blog, but also because I’m also interested in applying to Lamar).

Internship Basics

From Lamar’s website, I learned that the school offers an 11-month long dietetic internship that can include a Master of Science in Nutrition. The program accepts up to 10 students each spring, and about 50-60 students apply each year (17-20% of applicants get accepted). Besides learning about foodservice, clinical, management, and community nutrition positions, students experience rotations focusing on nutrition education and counseling. Students spend August through the following July completing their rotations and earning 21 credit hours, which can count towards Lamar’s MS in Nutrition. For students interested in the Master’s program, the remaining 15 credits can be easily completed after the internship.

Lamar’s internship program partners with local hospitals, specialized care centers, school districts, and community resources for all rotations. Students may complete all rotations within the Southeast Texas area, which means relatively short commutes. Dr. Killough explained to me that interns spend two or three weeks at each of the different hospitals and long-term care centers, which lets them see how dietitian teams work at different locations.

What Stands Out at Lamar

In addition to gaining multiple perspectives, Dr. Killough explained that interns will get to build relationships with their preceptors through one-to-one, or in some cases two-to-one interactions. I haven’t studied enough internships to know if that’s common or not. However, either way it’s one more perk of interning at Lamar.

Interested in teaching in higher education? A truly unique aspect of Lamar’s internship is a week-long campus rotation that focuses on University teaching and research. I’ve met a couple of interns when they were in this rotation. When they visited a class or freshman community group, they would lead the lesson for the period.

What You Need to Know

If you’re interested in applying to Lamar’s dietetic internship, Dr. Killough has a couple of recommendations.

First, she stressed the importance of being a well-rounded student. To her that meant having a good GPA (the school website says minimum 3.0, but the average is 3.5), experience through volunteer or work hours (especially volunteer hours), and great letters of recommendation. Your letters of recommendation are especially important to Lamar, as the school doesn’t conduct interviews. This has its pros and cons. For example, interviews can help your future program director see what you’re like in real life, not just on paper. On the other hand, no interview means one less obligation and that’s always appreciated in the busyness of application season!

Finally, regardless of what internship you choose, make sure to thoroughly review calculations. This includes BMI, nutrition assessments, and protein and carbohydrate needs. Once you start your rotations, specifically clinical, knowing and understanding these will be vital to successfully get through the internship.

Dr. Killough also advises that you review what you’ve already learned going into your senior year, as your classes will build on what you’ve learned up to this point. I imagine if being on top of your learning is important for your last year of school, it’s doubly so for the internship.

Resources

Want to learn more about the Lamar University Dietetic Internship?

Are you applying for internships or about to do so? What are your thoughts on this school?

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