Two Nutrition and Dietetics students earn best-in-state awards

Louisiana Tech College of Applied and Natural Sciences students Courtney Hammons and Kayleigh Glorioso have earned statewide recognition from the Louisiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (LAND).

Courtney Hammons

Courtney Hammons

A senior from Choudrant studying Nutrition and Dietetics, Hammons is the state’s Outstanding Dietetic Student Award winner for the Didactic Program in Dietetics. She competed against other Louisiana students who were nominated and will be formally recognized as the winner at LAND’s annual conference, Business Meeting, and Awards Breakfast April 8-9 in Baton Rouge.

Glorioso is a sophomore Nutrition and Dietetics major from Ball and a graduate of Pineville High. She competed against other sophomore students with the same major from across the state and won the LAND Jr. Merit Scholarship, a $500 award that be help pay her tuition in the fall.

LAND exists solely to help in improving the health and lifestyles of all Louisianans, mainly by promoting good nutrition and better eating habits.

Hammons’ interest in nutrition began to grow serious when she was a senior at Choudrant High and preparing for Regal Blues dance team tryouts at Tech.

Kayleigh Glorioso

Kayleigh Glorioso

“I wanted to perform and look my best,” said Hammons, the reigning Miss Tech. “After performing with the team for two years, my love and passion for nutrition grew as I began to work with the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana. This opportunity not only has given me a platform to advocate for hungry individuals and families, but also it has taught me that nutrition is vital in taking care of the entire person — physical, social, emotional, and spiritual. Because of this experience, I am eager to pursue a career in Community Nutrition after graduation.”

Hammons plans to earn her master’s in nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian (RD) in a career that “offers limitless opportunities centered around the science of nutrition and helping people,” she said. “Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity cripple Americans across the country, yet all of these disease states are preventable. Now more than ever, Registered Dietitians have a seat at the table, and people everywhere are craving what they have to say — even medical doctors. I would encourage someone interested in majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics at Louisiana Tech to soak their professors’ wells of knowledge dry and obtain as much experience as possible through volunteering and job shadowing during their undergraduate studies.”

Glorioso’s motivation comes from having family members who live with diabetes; she wants to “shine a light” on this disease, she said, and eventually have a career as an outpatient counselor for people who are diabetic.

“Within the next five years, I plan to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, complete my internship, and pass the RD exam to become a Registered Dietitian,” Glorioso said. “I also want to earn my master’s degree so then I’ll earn the title of registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In 10 years I see myself having a career I love because I’ll be able to help other people in need.

“As a future RDN, I want to communicate with others about how important it is to start making small changes now because it will lead to a wholesome life in the grand scheme of things,” she said. “I’m open to numerous careers in the field of nutrition, such as working with those who have eating disorders or diabetes, or owning my own private practice. No matter what career I choose to pursue, my goal is to provide efficient medical nutrition therapy to patients to improve their health…I want to provide people with efficient techniques for them to be the very best version of themselves.

“My advice to anyone who is thinking about pursuing this major is to just take that leap of faith and go for it; it’s the best decision you’ll make,” Glorioso said. “This major requires a great deal of science-based courses like chemistry, and a student must to take their classes seriously because the field of nutrition is highly competitive.”

Both award winners praised Tech’s Human Ecology faculty, especially Didactic Program Director Dawn Erickson, assistant professor Dr. Mary Catherine Fontenot, Dietetic Internship Coordinator and Instructor Amy Hogan, School of Human Ecology Director Dr. Ethel Jones, and professor Dr. Janet Pope

“I have the utmost respect for these incredible women and their service to Tech,” Hammons said. “Their support, encouragement, time, and dedication to the dietetics program and students at our University is invaluable.”

“I look up to these people not just because of their intelligence but due to their kindness,” Glorioso said. “These people saw my potential and continue to help me grow as an individual.”