University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences alumnus Robert Carter graduated with his degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a specialization in dietetics in 2016. He is currently working as a registered dietitian at the Southwest Center.
What brought you to CALS and your department? What first sparked your interest in your major?
I was a non-traditional student and after dropping out of music school and my band breaking up, I found myself working in a grocery store. Every day I would watch people shop for food, and I became fascinated with the choices they made and the way they made them. I wanted so badly to understand those decisions and to get the best information to as many people as I could. I made a beeline to dietetics and CALS.
Was there a particular CALS faculty/staff or mentor that was influential in your career path?
It’s so difficult to pick just one person who was influential in my career path. My time in CALS felt very supportive. I think if I had to pick one person I would have to say Dr. Gankofskie. I still keep in touch with her now. Her guidance and opinion have been helpful and I enjoy hearing updates about the current students and where they’re headed. Close seconds would include Dr. Knutson, Dr. Percival, Kohrine Counts, Professor Acosta, and Dr. Kauwell.
What do you find to be the coolest part of your job?
Every day I get to use the breadth of the education I got at CALS to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s managing diabetes or budgeting to feed an entire family, I am able to provide real, practical value to my community.
What are some exciting projects you have worked on in the course of your career?
Developing group nutrition classes has been the most exciting project thus far in my career. I love that I get to revise and update them as the body of evidence grows. I can’t forget making snacks and being interviewed about pediatric nutrition on television, or helping with presentations at national conferences. I hope to one day be the person presenting from the podium.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in the same career path as you?
Bring your curiosity! There are so many ways that dietitians can impact people’s lives, find as many dietitians as you can and ask them as many questions as you can think of! Remember to have fun, and take care of your classmates, they will be your most ardent supporters once you’re out in the field. Share the things you learn, and finally, for the love of all that is nutrition science, PAY ATTENTION IN BIOCHEMISTRY!
“Dietetics is a growing and changing field. We need each and every one of you and your experiences to make us the best that we can be. Speak up, it’s ok to be wrong, but listen when a critique comes your way. That’s how we learn.” – Robert Carter
Dietetics is a challenging profession that applies the science of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of individuals and groups. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at the University of Florida meets the Standards of Education set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Find a CALS major that suits your interests by taking our majors quiz. You can also find information regarding our undergraduate and graduate programs on our website. Questions for Robert Carter regarding his experiences in dietetics should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.