Dietetics Duo Takes on Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo

Two UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students attended the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in October. The conference brings together industry experts, such as registered dietitians and researchers. Dietetics students Rafaella Galvez and Courtney Piltaver traveled to Denver, Colo., to attend the conference with VP Promise funding. 

Galvez after a session at FNCE.

Galvez and Piltaver began the first day of the conference by attending a keynote speaker session. The session discussed how healthcare institutions such as hospitals will be using the Global Malnutrition Composite Score (GMCS) for quality reporting. Kristi Mitchell of Atlas Clarity LLC and Health Equity Outcomes, Jasmine Larson of Abbott Medical Devices, and Margaret Dittloff of Junum were the speakers for this session.

“I learned how dietitians can advocate for malnutrition quality improvement, and I became aware of deeper connections with clinical and community nutrition, as well as the interdisciplinary potential for growth dietitians,” said Galvez.  

The duo also attended the opening session where Stedman Graham presented his Nine Steps Success Process® with identity leadership. Galvez and Piltaver attended several other sessions and workshops throughout the conference. Topics included the impacts of ultra-processed foods, breast milk research, and the aging gut. 

“I felt empowered to advocate for better eating habits within my community,” said Piltaver.  

Piltaver and Asche.

One of Piltaver’s conference highlights was meeting Angie Asche, a registered sports dietician. Piltaver was originally a client of Asche when she played competitive tennis. Piltaver learned about sports dietetics through Asche and decided to pursue it as a career.  

“She inspired my passion for this profession. The chance to express my gratitude and gain insights from this mentor was a surreal experience, reinforcing the profound impact of role models in shaping our aspirations,” said Piltaver.

Galvez and Piltaver also spent some time exploring the expo floor. The conference’s expo featured more than 200 exhibits, many of which had several interactive components. An assortment of culinary demonstrations and product presentations were held throughout the expo hall.  

In addition, the conference gave student attendees the opportunity to meet with representatives from graduate school and internship programs. During the career fair, students were encouraged to share their resumes, skill sets and career goals with more than 20 higher education institutions.  

“I left FNCE with a sense of purpose and determination, armed with knowledge and connections that will shape my career in profound ways. It was an experience I will carry with me as a reminder of the boundless possibilities and impact we can make in the world of nutrition and well-being, said Piltaver.

The VP Promise offers financial support to students engaging in experiential learning opportunities within agriculture, natural resources and related sciences. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is dedicated to fostering student development and success, encouraging students to expand their horizons through participation in study abroad programs, leadership roles, scholarly conferences, and other enriching experiences.

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Posted: December 18, 2023

Category: Agriculture, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Conference, Dietetics, Food Science And Human Nutrition, VP Promise

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