Learning experiences within the dietetics and human nutrition undergraduate curricula develop knowledge and skills pertinent to student career goals. Core competency requirements are extensively assessed in these programs, yet the communication of transferable skills gained and student professional readiness are rarely examined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate undergraduate students' perceived professional readiness following six professional development workshops on transferable skills and career preparedness communicated through resumes and personal statements. In this pilot study, twelve upper-level dietetics and human nutrition students self-assessed their resumes and personal statements with rubrics and completed surveys before and after the intervention. Following the workshops, four professionals in the students' respective career field of interest assessed the resumes and personal statements using the same rubrics. Trends toward improvements were seen in three of 15 transferable skills and in six out of 10 skills assessing confidence in career preparedness. Four out of seven resume components saw trends toward improvements, and all items on the personal statements improved after the intervention. No differences were observed between the student and professional assessments. Providing structured time for student reflection to effectively articulate professional readiness may better prepare students for success in future professional endeavors.
This work was supported by a School of Human Environmental Sciences Research Activity Award at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. N.L.V. is supported by the UK Cancer Center Support Grant [NCI P30CA177558], the UK Center for Cancer and Metabolism [NIGMS P20GM121327] and the UK Appalachian Career Training in Oncology Program [NCI R25CA221765].
Norman-Burgdolf, Heather; DeWitt, Emily M.; Vanderford, Nathan L.; and Plasencia, Julie, "Communication of Professional Readiness in Dietetics and Human Nutrition Undergraduates: A Pilot Study" (2020). Dietetics and Human Nutrition Faculty Publications. 29.