Taylor Newman is passionate about food and nutrition, and the future registered dietitian nutritionist wants to work on policies at the highest level to ensure the proper funding and support for the programs near and dear to her heart.
Lincoln High School, Tallahassee, FL
Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition/Dietetic Internship
Bachelor of Science in Dietetics
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
My UGA highlight has been working with the incredible faculty of the Department of Foods and Nutrition both in and out of the classroom. This past year I was a research assistant, a teaching assistant and a dietetic intern in the department. Wearing multiple hats allowed me to work with professors and other students in a variety of settings to develop everything from class lectures to community events. The department also met weekly for seminars and lunch where speakers would discuss cutting edge research topics. Seeing everyone on a consistent basis made the work we were doing communal and enjoyable. It truly is like a family.
As for scholarships, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences offered me the Anne and Earl Haltiwanger Scholarship and the Ruth Rowan Morrison Graduate Endowment in Nutrition Studies for my continuing studies. I’m endlessly grateful for their support.
Graduate Research Assistant
Family Ties to UGA:
I am the first Dawg in my family! I come from a long line of Seminoles and it’s great to be at another university with such palpable school spirit.
I chose to attend UGA because…
There aren’t many combined programs that allow students to work simultaneously toward a master’s degree and on a dietetic internship, and fewer that offer the kind of support UGA does. When I heard from a friend already in the combined program about how welcoming the department was—it sealed the deal. By choosing UGA, I will be able to enter the career I love at an expedited rate rather than completing both programs separately. Plus, I get to experience all the great things I’ve heard about Athens.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
I love walking around UGA’s campus, especially during spring. When the new leaves sprout and it’s the perfect 77 degrees out, the campus is alive. I also really enjoy studying on Myers Quad between classes. It’s always rejuvenating after a long day of work.
When I have free time, I like…
… to attend the community events around Athens. One of my favorite things about this town is that there’s always something going on, from downtown rallies supporting science and farmers markets at Bishop Park, to author events at Avid Bookshop and engaging with state representatives at the Athens-Clarke County Library. Athens’ vibrant culture celebrates all things local and really nourishes a sense a community. Never have I lived in a city that feels so unified in its passions. I also like hiking at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and on trails across north Georgia. My favorite hiking spot so far is Panther Creek Trail in Clarkesville!
The craziest thing I've done is…
… free fall out of the sky. I went skydiving for my best friend’s birthday a few years back. I was so terrified that I barely released my death grip on the plane when it was time to jump. After finally letting go, I free fell for the first 40 seconds before my parachute mushroomed. It’s pretty terrifying/exhilarating to plummet unrestrained toward Earth!
My favorite place to study is…
… Two Story Coffee, hands down. Their cold brew coffee and lemon poppy seed muffins are amazing. I also love all the community event posters they host on their cork board. It always gives me an idea of what’s coming up in Athens.
My favorite professor is…
I have so many. Dr. Jung Sun Lee is my major professor and has helped guide me through my first year of graduate school. She’s been a huge support system. I also really enjoyed all of the professors that taught courses for my graduate Certificate in Obesity and Weight Management: Dr. Mary Ann Johnson, Dr. Leann Birch and Dr. Christopher Mojock. I’m lucky to have had engaged professors that are excited by the course content. They emphasize research-based practices and apply skepticism when necessary, which has taught me how to be a critical researcher in a time when evidence-based facts are needed most.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
… President Obama. He’s one of my biggest heroes. I interned for him in the spring of 2016 in the Office of Presidential Correspondence and read countless letters from Americans reaching out to him, just as I had written myself before I came to work for him. He was the first politician I truly trusted to make compassion-driven decisions for our country and I admired his unwavering optimism. I met him very briefly at the end of my internship and he shattered the “don’t meet your heroes” warning by being as good natured and galvanizing as I imagined him to be. I would love to share an afternoon with him and the first lady discussing how the next generation can fight cynicism and achieve change, a topic he’s pushed for that has resonated with me.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
Feed the world. Fund the education of females worldwide. Climb Mount Everest.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
… send my parents on the vacation of a lifetime. They’ve worked so hard to get my siblings and me to where we are today. They’ve given us the world so at the very least, they deserve to see a bit of it themselves.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion is food and nutrition — particularly the policies that regulate them. I believe that public policy is the scaffolding of the dietetic practice. As a dietetic intern with a concentration in community nutrition, policy ensures funding and support for many of the programs I work with, including SNAP-Ed and the National School Lunch Program. I want to provide a voice for nutrition experts by communicating with members of Congress on behalf of these programs and issues related to the dietetic profession, including supporting necessary food safety regulations, the reimbursement of dietetic services, and child nutrition policies. Sharing our knowledge and testimonials from our practice with legislators can drastically impact their opinion about the issues dietitians care about. Connecting with policymakers also elicits recognition of our expertise and derives respect for our role in the health of America. The importance of an active role for dietitians at all levels of government cannot be stressed enough. Now, more than ever.
After graduation, I plan to…
After graduating with my master’s in foods and nutrition and completing my dietetic internship, I plan to sit for the exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. I hope to go on to navigate nutrition-related policy for an organization like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or the United Nations.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
… graduating! I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned at UGA into the workforce and start working toward the career I love. UGA does a great job of preparing its graduate students with the skills necessary to make an impact on their communities, and I’m excited to represent Georgia on my next adventure.