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DCCECE enjoys partnership with UCA Dietetic Intern programDate: 10/20/2017
The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) Health and Nutrition Unit (HNU) has expanded its civic outreach through an internship with dietetic program graduates from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA).
“Our division is fortunate to have this opportunity to work with the University of Central Arkansas, hosting its students as interns for the Health and Nutrition Unit of DCCECE,” said Tonya Williams, DCCECE director. “The students brought new ideas and enthusiasm to the agency.”
In increments of three, the Dietetic interns completed a two-week tour of service, assisting HNU staff with a myriad of projects. In the process, students were introduced to some of the responsibilities of HNU.
“The interns received hands-on experience in providing technical assistance, in addition to outreach and marketing. The students also helped develop nutrition resources, such as hand-outs and activities that emphasize hands-on learning and training at schools, day care centers, family day care homes, and summer sites,” said HNU Training Program Manager Mitzi Langley. “I enjoy mentoring the interns. I love being a positive role model in the field of nutrition.”
“We wanted to give the interns a sample of all the things we do,” said HNU National School Lunch Program Manager Mariska Jordan. “We wanted them to have duties they could learn from, while also being helpful to HNU staff. It was a great experience. During the second week of the rotation, the students always seemed to get comfortable. However, by then it was time for a new group to rotate through the program.”
According to Jordan, the presence of the interns was timely.
“Working alongside the summer feeding programs, the months of June, July, and August are very busy for our team. Our review team is often out in the field working hard,” she said. “However by hosting the students this summer, we were able to get a lot done. We weren’t as stressed, because the interns were dedicated, learned fast and completed tasks at a high level.”
Their DHS experience was a pleasant surprise for the interns.
“We enjoyed the interns, and many of them admitted that DHS is totally different than what they originally thought it was,” Jordan said. “Some of them also admitted that they were impressed with how HNU addressed child hunger in Arkansas. This program exposed them to what HNU is and our various responsibilities. We look forward to reinstating this partnership with the UCA Nutrition Department in the summer of 2018.