Tag Archives: science fair projects

Become an RD (February 2014)

Shelly Najjar passed the Registered Dietitian exam

Part of the results printout after taking the test

Yesterday I passed my registration exam for dietetics and am now an RD (Registered Dietitian)!!

That means I have done one more thing on my list! (…and that I am now credentialed to provide nutrition therapy and specific dietary changes to help with special medical conditions, etc, and hopefully can find a job).

The story of this list item starts back in 8th grade, when we had to do science fair projects every year (looking back, I’m glad we did, I learned a lot of things like presentation skills, communication, familiarity and comfort with science, etc).

My science fair project that year was about how cooking method affects the vitamin C content of vegetables. I was reading nutrition textbooks to get information about the project, and my dad noticed I was reading information I didn’t need to read for the project. Nutrition was new to me, and I was excited that it was connected to everything.

He suggested I look into jobs in nutrition, so in high school, I did a few job shadows and took a Food Science class (slightly better than a class you could take in your sleep). When I started the college search/application process, I looked at colleges that had accredited programs in nutrition.

I’ve mentioned in the post about finishing college that I went to Washington State University (earned a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition, Dietetics option), and University of Washington (earned a Master of Public Health in Public Health Nutrition, through the Graduate Coordinate Program in Dietetics). These programs met the requirements for the nutrition degree and 1200 hours of supervised practice in dietetics.

In the month since graduating, I have been studying on and off for the registration exam, and took it yesterday (Feb 12). I thought it would be something that I was pretty happy about, but it turns out that the emotional reaction just wasn’t there. (I’m distracted by other things right now and was pretty tired, so that was probably why.) This goal has taken a really long time to accomplish, with many unexpected turns in the road (maybe I’ll expand that into another post later), but I have learned so much and I am grateful that I had these educational opportunities. I’m sure that as time goes by, I’ll be even more grateful when I do something in my job that I remember I learned during this time.

Many people have helped me in a variety of ways to accomplish this goal, in financial support, through prayers, emotional and social support and friendship, practical help, advice, and more. I am so, so grateful. Thank you.

If you want to be a Registered Dietitian, the best place to start is the website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They have a Become an RD/DTR page that helps you figure out your next steps, depending on your situation (career change, high school student, international student, etc).

If you’re looking for study materials, click here.

You can also contact me if you have questions about the experiences I had.