Julia Werth combined her commitment to a healthy lifestyle with her love of writing into a dual degree in nutritional sciences and journalism. On top of obtaining two degrees, she was an honors student throughout her entire student career and took an average of 21 credits each semester. Julia will be pursuing a dietetic internship at the University of Maryland in August, which will prepare her for becoming a registered dietitian. Read about Julia’s undergraduate experience here at UConn.
What attracted you to UConn? I am from near Boston, which is obviously different from UConn. I had applied to fifteen different schools, but I narrowed it down to UConn and UMass. I wanted to go to a bigger school that had both a good nutrition program and a good journalism program. UConn had both, and I felt at home here.
What was your major, and why did you choose it? I have a dual-degree in nutritional sciences and journalism. I chose nutrition because I have always loved to cook, and I like to exercise. I wanted to learn what is actually healthy and helpful because there is so much misinformation out there. I chose journalism because I love to write, and I thought that I could use that skill to correct misconceptions about nutrition.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? I work for The Daily Campus, and that has taken over my life. A friend asked me to join in the first week of my freshman year. I have spent more hours in that little building than anywhere else on campus both this semester and last semester. As the editor-in-chief, I spend about 30 hours a week there, including three to four nights per week that last until two or three in the morning. It has been amazing. I have learned so much about people, communication, priorities and the ability to function at two in the morning. This is a whole other world that I live in.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. I worked as a chef in a nursing home this past summer in Reading, MA. I had originally applied as a dietary aide, but they called and told me that they had an opening for a chef. I had taken two food service classes, and I am a certified food service manager, so they hired me without even seeing if I could cook. The work was exhausting, but was also an eye-opening experience because it made me realize how much work goes into meal preparation. My lessons in food service from UConn were incredibly helpful. I spent eight-and-a-half hour shifts preparing meals for the same 100 residents. I’ve run two marathons, and that is less exhausting than my first week working as a chef. The whole experience taught me how to solve problems solve and how to remain calm under pressure.
Another enriching experience was my research in weight management in the psychology lab. I was in Dr. Amy Gorin’s ten-credit obesity sequence during my sophomore year, and that really opened my eyes to how big of a problem obesity is, what stems from it and just how much work needs to be done to combat it. Joining her lab has been stressful at times, but I have learned a lot about how to organize a study, work with participants and keep other research assistants motivated.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? My biggest challenge was balancing my personal life – what I am upset about and what happens every day – with what I want to do. I run marathons and half marathons every semester. If I don’t run, I know that I won’t be happy. However, I also have classes that I need to pass and work to do. Balancing everything is always the hardest part for me. I advise everybody to fall in love with a planner and to remember that it is okay if things go wrong and you fail.
When did you graduate? What’s next? I graduated in May. I had applied to three dietetic internships, and I got into the University of Maryland. This summer, I am working at the Connecticut Mirror in Hartford. I hope to continue freelance writing throughout my internship. In the future, I will end up doing some combination of writing, communication and nutrition.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? Smile every day because sometimes you don’t realize how much smiling will make your day better.
By: Michelle Sarta