Academy Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo, Houston, Texas October 19-22, 2013
Mariela Aguilera and Anailse Martinez, both nutrition majors, are part of the USDA FATE grant at Texas State. Anailse joined our program while a student at Texas State. Mariela joined our program while a student at Laredo Community College and transferred to Texas State. Mariela and Ana were able to attend this professional conference with the financial support of the USDA FATE grant and the Director, Dr. Doug Morrish. Mariela wrote the following reflection about their experience at this professional meeting.
FNCE 2013 at Houston, Texas, was an amazing experience! I am very fortunate to have experienced this conference and exposition, and I am grateful for the sponsorship the USDA-FATE grant provided. Our lodging was nestled in between medical plaza and Rice University, surrounded by Houston's Museums of Natural Science and Culture. That was a great part of the trip, we got to explore some of those areas as well as encounter some locals.
FNCE began with a kickoff welcoming session that featured a nationally recognized news anchor and reporter who talked about the importance of humanitarian actions throughout your lifetime. Her talk was great and the stories she had experienced were really impressive. Similar to this experience, the rest of the lectures given by Nutrition, Food, & Medical professionals were all very interesting and had a variety of topics. Topics included anything and everything related to nutrition, from culinary demonstrations, food trends, food insecurity, to eating disorders and clinical intervention. The conference presentations were full of valuable information for our knowledge in this field. Overall the presentations and speakers were great and I definitely got a lot out of it, and learned many new things I perhaps would have not been able to had I not attended.
The speakers were from corporate, government, public service, as well as other sectors all influenced by food or nutrition in some way or another. As for the exposition part of the conference, all I can really say is I'm still at awe. Entering that expo was an eye opening experience. There was an array of food and supplement companies present showcasing there products. Most household names for food products were present and they had samples of their food as well as educational information that complemented their products. Hundreds of different booths filled with representatives from each of the companies made it easy to network and become acquainted with the companies and learn more about them. Some booths had cooking demos, and even had celebrity chefs present. It was a sight to see, and one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had. As funny as this might sound, while attending FNCE I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was able to attend all the lambing sessions to further my knowledge. A visit to the expo was a helpful benefit to exploring my career field in depth.
On our off time during the conference, we were able to explore around some of downtown and around our lodging area. It was nice to unwind after a long day of learning by having a nice dinner and talking about all we had learned in the day. I had a great time with Anailse and enjoyed her company, we have the same major, nutrition. We really got to share our thoughts in how we stand and what the future holds for us. We attended an internship fair sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and we visited several booths of schools and programs that offer the post undergraduate dietetic internship. Meeting with these individuals was a great opportunity to get our name out there and learn more about the requirements and program information.
This trip helped to reassure me that I am pursuing the right degree and what I want to do. I want to complete my degree in Nutrition/Dietetics and go on to become a Dietitian. As well as pursue graduate school work and keep going to better myself and those around me. I wouldn't have been able to attend without the sponsorship of the USDA FATE grant. Once again I would like to mention that it's because of programs such as this one, that students can excel and further their knowledge and skills in hopes of obtaining a degree in the very bright and near future that awaits us.