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When it comes to translating classroom lessons into real-world experiences, dietetics major Janasia Phillips says Tuskegee University is fostering her love for nutrition as she prepares for her future career addressing nutritional needs.
Phillips, a first-generation college student and a native of Jacksonville, Florida, says she decided to attend Tuskegee because she wanted to be surrounded by other like-minded, educated individuals who looked like her. Through the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, she’s pursuing her new-found love of nutritional sciences and discovering the number of diverse career paths available to her in her field.
“I believe that food is for the mind, body and soul. We all need food to perform our best, and the value of good nutrition should be even more established throughout college,” she explained.
Phillips says she recognizes that, as a dietetics student, she has the ability to create close relationship skills in her chosen expertise that identify nutritional needs for optimal growth and development.
“Since arriving at Tuskegee in the fall of 2018, I have made countless connections with various people in many fields – to which I owe Tuskegee the credit. Those connections have helped teach me how to be professional, which has reflected in the way I carry myself in interviews and the workplace,” she continued.
During the summer, Phillips completed an internship within the nutrition department at Kids Hope Alliance, a nonprofit organization in Jacksonville.
While there, she worked with teams on providing summer lunches for students to receive at local summer camps and community libraries.
“My capstone project was focused on food deserts in America — and more specifically, in Jacksonville,” she noted. “The program I created to combat Jacksonville’s food deserts is called ‘Your Thumb, Green Thumb’ — a student-run community garden teaching students about nutrition and how to grow their own food.”
Balancing books and time
In addition to providing optimal nutrition advice to her peers, Phillips also wears many campus life hats. At the top of that list is her role as chief of staff for the university’s Royal Court, as well as serving as a University Ambassador. When not in class or studying, you can usually find Phillips leading campus tours for visitors and prospective students.
“I enjoy sharing our history with visitors. It’s a way for me to connect with people,” she said. “I look forward to telling wonderful stories about Tuskegee’s legacy and how we came about.”
Despite her busy lifestyle, Phillips says in the midst of her extracurricular activities and busy academic schedule, she still manages to find time for self-care.
“Self- care is extremely important – you cannot pour into people with an empty well,” she noted.
Moving to the next level
Upon graduation, Phillips plans to work on a master’s in sports nutrition, with her ultimate goal being to work with professional athletes as a sports dietitian. She credits Mother Tuskegee with teaching her to always strive for higher heights.
“Tuskegee has taught me that if you want something, just ask for it. You must go for the things you want out of the experience you have at this institution. It will not be handed to you – that mentality is what builds Tuskegee women and gentlemen,” she noted.
“I found that the university is full of diverse backgrounds, ideas, beliefs and personalities — and being able to collaborate with them is by far the most rewarding part,” she concluded.
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