Tessa Adcock is a dietetic student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has spent four weeks of her supervised practice with ENC. During the UIC graduate program, Tessa has served as a research assistant on a project with the Institute of Health Research and Policy at UIC involving school district student wellness policies. Tessa holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology from Grinnell College and an Associate degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America. Tessa explored her various interests involving the unique relationship between people and food. It was through a desire to help an underserved, nationwide audience that she discovered her passion for school nutrition. She plans to pursue an active role in dietetics during a crucial time of transition and improvement in the school nutrition field.
For those of you unfamiliar with FNCE, it is the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. This year the conference was held in Philadelphia, and I had the honor of attending as an intern with Egg Nutrition Center (ENC). As a dietetic intern attending such an event, I represented a mere 3% of over 6,000 attendees of this conference. Of that 3%, I can assure you only a few others could have experienced the conference ENC style.
Upon arrival, our first major task was booth set-up in the expo hall. With six hands and some expert IKEA-like assembly and visualization, the media stand, signage, literature stands, and technology were all positioned for best use of our 10X10 foot space. What began as a room filled with boxes, tape, and scattered paper transformed overnight into a room with purpose, bright colors, and a buzz of excitement. Throughout the weekend, I spent much of my time at the booth sharing ENC-related literature and research with all interested attendees. We highlighted research findings and educational materials to help health care professionals spread the word about important topics like cholesterol, protein, MyPlate, and much more. Engaging in conversation with attendees about their current questions and concerns in the industry helped to shed light on how ENCs research can be used as a tool in the health-related workplace.
Surrounding the hours dedicated to sharing the science of ENC with fellow healthcare aficionados, I experienced the whirl wind of activity that is FNCE. Some of the highlights include: the informative sessions addressing current topics in the industry, endless networking opportunities, learning more at a 6:30am breakfast than I thought possible, a flash mob performance, and a closing session so inspirational I left wanting to continue my journey in dietetics more than ever. It may have been a dream, but I am almost certain the Kids Eat Right Gala featured local dancing and singing talent and a stage full of dancing Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic board of directors wearing tiaras made of pipe cleaners.
Amazingly, the break-down of such an adventurous weekend took those six hands less than an hour. Before I knew it, I was back in a rainy Chicago exhausted and exhilarated by the opportunity ENC had given me to be a major contributor of FNCE 2012.