SFNA Helps Food and Nutrition Students Plan for Future Careers

Chef Sangwook Kang and student volunteers showcased the Food & Nutrition Program by preparing delicious food for the President's Tent at the Sept. 18 football game.

The Student Food and Nutrition Association (SFNA), a student organization at Eastern Kentucky University that previously served to connect dietetics and nutrition students with job prospects and connections within the university, has recently expanded its program to include students in the culinary and food management track. The organization was originally known as Student Dietetic Association (SDA), but changed to SFNA this year to reflect the expanded programs. 

“This name is new. It was SDA, Student Dietetic Association, but we changed it this year because of the culinary track,” said Mikayla Marti, a senior dietetics major from Independence, Kentucky. 

The organization previously served to offer older students networking opportunities before clinical placements and the chance to explore job opportunities after graduation. Juniors and seniors are required to complete clinical placements in several areas of study, such as kitchen management or nutrition work in hospitals and nursing homes. SFNA has had several guest speakers that help students work through the placement process. In the past, they hosted a guest speaker specifically trained to help dietetics students find placements after graduation.

“The post-graduate, like, dietetic track is a really popular thing to talk about during meetings because I feel like that’s what a lot of people have concerns with,” said Marti. 

Freshman and sophomore students, those with nutrition minors, or anyone with an interest in the field are also encouraged to join. The organization can help students think about their future placements, build connections between younger and older students and help those interested in the field learn more about it. 

Olivia Kates, junior dietetics major from Berea, Kentucky found out about SFNA at a tabling event her freshman year. She joined to meet more people in her major and learn how they got into their jobs.

“They kind of give you a lot of information that you won’t get as a freshman going into a dietetics major,” said Kates.

SFNA also participated in several volunteer trips in past years, such as collecting produce and food items from stores and farms where they would have been thrown out and delivering them to food pantries. Due to COVID restrictions, many of the service trips they would have done haven’t been possible. SFNA has mainly met on Zoom and hosted more speakers this year. 

The culinary aspect of the organization is still growing, as this year is the first with the culinary track in place. Most members are dietetics majors, but a few culinary students have joined. In the future, SFNA plans to invite more culinary-based speakers and create more culinary-based activities as a greater number of students in that field join. 

“Food is like everywhere, so even if you do go the culinary or the dietetic route you’ll probably end up working with somebody in that field,” said Marti. 

Culinary professors are also involved in the organization, including Sangwook Kang, a certified professional food manager and hospitality educator who has worked in several hotels. 

To learn more about SFNA, find them on the CORQ app under student organizations.

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