Hannah Peters, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist - Baptist Cancer Center
BS - Dietetics '17 | MS/DI - Clinical Nutrition '19
Why did you choose the University of Memphis?
My grandfather was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma my senior year of high school, which made choosing a college much easier. I wanted to stay close to home, so I could spend more time with him. The University of Memphis was truly a hidden gem. Growing up in Collierville, I felt like I knew everything about Memphis. After the first week, living in the dorms and exploring all the University and city has to offer, I realized there was so much more to this school. From Tiger spirit at football games to volunteering at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the University of Memphis not only has the sports and organizations, but also great opportunities to strengthen your resume and grow your connections.
Why did you choose your major?
I took Food and Nutrition in high school and quickly realized how important nutrients are. Learning what diseases we can treat and prevent from diet and exercise alone made me want to help others live a healthier lifestyle.
Was there any particular faculty or staff member from our college that made an impact on you and how/why?
Mary Catherine Schallert: I do not think I could have made it through DICAS (Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System) without Mary Catherine. Mary Catherine was always there to listen if I was stressed, having trouble in another class or needed advice for the dietetic internship. She truly cares about her students and the nutrition field and community.
Sara Foley: Sara is incredible. She created our internship schedule and helped make sure all of us complete our competencies (which is A LOT). Sara tries her best to include rotations that are important to you. She was always a smiling face in the midst of being a graduate student and school or clinical rotations and school. During school and internship, I was so grateful to have both Mary Catherine and Sara to look up to. They are both incredible moms, RDs, and mentors. They are highly involved in the dietetics community and have played many roles in our field. I aspire to be more like them.
What were your favorite classes and/or activities?
Metabolism: Dr. Marie and Dr. Buddington are absolutely incredible. I feel like I learned so much in their classes. Their classes forced us to study and learn the material. I still have my metabolism binders today.
How did our college prepare you for your career?
Using the knowledge I learned in school during my clinical rotations made me feel so much more confident in my dietetics career. I think most students feel unprepared in the beginning, but once you start having hands-on experience, it all clicks. Getting that experience from being a graduate assistant at St. Jude and doing clinical rotations at Baptist, Fresenius and more prepared me to begin my career. I was also grateful for the connections I made from previous preceptors that I could reach out to for help.
What is a day in the life of your career like?
At Baptist Cancer Center, I meet with patients during their office visits or infusions. I assess the nutrition status and provide counseling. Many times, this is providing nutrition counseling on symptoms from chemotherapy and radiation, but it can also be diabetes or weight gain counseling. I also provide recommendations for enteral nutrition. I work closely with our nurses, social worker and oncologist to provide the best care for our patients.
What advice would you give current or incoming students?
College is an interview. Throughout your college career, you have the ability to make great connections through your teachers, other students and preceptors. Remember this as you are in class, an internship or volunteering. Make a list of these connections so that you are able to reach back out to them for letters of recommendations or career questions.
Why would you recommend the College of Health Sciences?
The College of Health Sciences helped make me the woman I am today. Without my education
and the experiences I received from the College of Health Sciences, I would not be
able to help people with their nutrition as they battle diabetes, cancer, renal disease,
weight loss, etc. Because of everything I learned from my teachers and preceptors,
I am able to say proudly I am a Registered Dietitian.
Did you do an internship? If so, where and what was it like?
Yes. I did the Dietetic Internship combined with a Master's in Clinical Nutrition. During my internship, I had rotations at a minimum of eight different sites. I enjoyed my internship! I was finally able to apply what I learned in school to patient care. As a student, I was able to ask questions, see a PEG tube placed and learn from different disciplines. After the internship, I was able to get a job at one of the sites where I did part of my internship.