Sarah Kranz is a busy undergraduate student studying dietetics in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. She is actively involved in undergraduate research and campus activities, as well. Here is what she said about her experiences in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.
What attracted you to UConn? When applying to colleges, I knew that I wanted to be a dietitian. My main interest was being a clinical dietitian so I looked for schools that would allow me to be successful in the field.
This program had the clinical rotation in the dietetics field worked into their four-year program. In many other programs, you have to complete an extra semester or year of rotations. UConn had all that I was looking for in a college.
Why did you choose your particular major? My interest in nutrition and dietetics started in high school. Originally I wanted to go to culinary school, but then I became more aware of the science side of food. In my high school biology class I did a project about nutrition and obesity and really loved the subject. My interest stemmed from the project, and I knew that I wanted to pursue nutrition in college.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? My favorite experience has been getting involved in undergraduate research. This is something I knew I wanted to try. Going to a large university gives students a lot of opportunities, and I was able to get involved in research from the beginning.
I have been working in the lab since spring semester of my freshman year, studying the antioxidant effects of chokeberries. Last summer, I won a Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF award) to conduct further research. I am writing my honors thesis on this subject now.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. One of my favorite experiences was working as a facilitator for UConn Connects, which is an intervention program that aims to make students more academically successful. As a facilitator, I provided students on campus with guidance, problem solving techniques and other resources to make the most of their education.
This job made me realize that there are numerous factors involved and reasons why a person may not be successful in college. I had to work on each case individually, using each person’s unique circumstances. This was a rewarding and eye-opening experience.
While at college, I enjoyed being a part of UConn Hillel. Through this, I have met a lot of people with similar interests and backgrounds. There is a great community and social feel at Hillel. I made contacts with students from other majors and parts of campus. I would not have gotten the chance to meet them otherwise.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? My biggest challenge at UConn has been balancing everything. The research I am involved in as well as my internship, academics and other activities take up a lot of time. I have had to develop really strong time management skills.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I plan on graduating in May 2015. After I graduate, I intend to take a year off from school and work. I want to gain some experience in the field before I pursue any further degrees. After that, I want to apply to doctoral programs in human nutrition. I do not fully know where I want to go for my graduate degree, but I want to keep my options open and see where I can have the best experience.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? One interesting experience I had during my undergraduate career was being selected to attend a public health conference in Auckland, New Zealand.
This was a two-week, international conference held by Universitas 21. Only two students from participating research schools were selected to attend. The University of Connecticut was the only school from the United States. It was a truly eye-opening opportunity.
During the conference, we went on excursions and were able to visit a drug abuse treatment center, which made me more interested in public health.