Skip to main content
GROW was created to meet the growing need for RDs in three capacities:
  • Retain individuals of diverse backgrounds within the field of nutrition and dietetics,
  • Preparation for an advanced degree in nutrition and dietetics to meet changing requirements in the field and
  • Leadership development in the domain of sustainable, resilient and healthy food and water systems to meet the growing demand for this skill set.

To increase equity within the healthcare system, having individuals of diverse backgrounds is paramount. However, there are many obstacles in the way of reaching that goal. In addition, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) has mandated that as of January 1, 2024, all candidates for the Nutrition and Dietetics Registration Exam have to obtain a Master of Science degree before sitting for the exam.

In order to ensure our students are competitive for MS programs at schools around the country and have the opportunity to remain in the field they have been training in, we have created a project that uses holistic mentorship and special experiential learning to facilitate growth of soft skills, professional development, research skills, and leadership skills in the students that participate. Building these skills sets and refining them through the course of the project will maximize the students' potential and make them competitive for their next step towards an advanced degree.


This project works to provide an underrepresented student population with training for additional educational pursuits, including dietetic internships and MS degrees that allow them to remain in the field of nutrition and also allow for growth and leadership development in many areas of nutrition including the sustainability domain.

The specific objectives of this project are:

  • To provide underrepresented students with mentorship that will allow them to develop necessary professional skills to be successful and competitive within the field
  • To provide students with experiential learning opportunities surrounding sustainable nutrition, sustainable agriculture practices, urban gardening, food literacy, farm-to-table, and food waste as these topics are being brought to the forefront on both a worldwide scale as well as within the discipline of nutrition and dietetics. We need more professionals with training in these areas to provide education and create pathways for communities to be able to partake in sustainable behaviors.
  • To provide underrepresented students nutrition related leadership opportunities within their discipline, campus wide, and community wide which will create more opportunity for advancement within the field as well as within STEM careers.

The funding for this proposal will supply experiential learning opportunities over a four-year period to nine nutrition and dietetic students at Dominican University. The students will work with faculty members to design research projects and community programs that educate attendees on different aspects of sustainable nutrition such as eating seasonally, the impact of food choices on one’s health, environment, and economy, and community supported agriculture.

As part of the dissemination process, student will present their research proposals and results at the 2023 SI (Scholarship & Ideas) Expo, prepare writings about their project for different audiences, and engage with multiple partners to share their findings.

GROW Researchers
  • Sydney Balan
  • Alyssa Brewer
  • Gabrielle Green
  • Engy Helal
  • Nell Lesnik
  • Anna Martucci
  • Jazmin Montes
  • Socorro Nevarez
  • Emily Schellhase