Fostering Leadership Skills Through the Academy Student Liaison Program

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Last summer I began searching for ways that I could gain leadership experience as a student member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I stumbled upon the student liaison program by searching the website, applied and got the position.

Being a student liaison for the Academy is a privilege. It allows me to connect with other students, be a leader and serve as a resource. Some of my responsibilities include discussing the Academy with other students at my school, relaying important information about current nutrition events or action alerts, and recruiting student members. I also communicate with other student liaisons in nutrition and dietetics programs across the country.

Overall, being a student liaison is a great way to gain leadership experience and be a part of the Academy in a larger way by providing a platform for myself to be a reliable resource for other students to come to for information. It also required me to speak to large groups, reach out to other students and be more outgoing in order to discuss the Academy with others — something I was not always comfortable doing, but nonetheless a necessary skill toward becoming a better leader. I am now much more comfortable putting myself out there, and I am not as afraid to speak up. Being a student liaison has allowed me to develop all these skills that, together, build a strong leader.

Additionally, the Academy and the community of liaisons have been so supportive. More than 160 student liaisons across the country use a dedicated community of interest to communicate, discuss ideas, troubleshoot and connect. It has been incredibly inspiring seeing what others are doing in their programs and clubs and seeing how the community supports each other when asking for advice.

I highly recommend becoming a student liaison. Fostering Leadership Skills Through the Academy Student Liaison Program - I have grown as a person and future RDN through this opportunity and encourage others to do the same.

Kristen Matthews
Kristen Matthews is a senior dietetics student at Montclair State University. Kristen is on the executive board of the Montclair State Dietetics Organization, is the undergraduate student representative for the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at Montclair State, and she is a Student Liaison for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.