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MSU's Pace chosen as national delegate

May 21, 2012

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has selected recent Mississippi State University graduate Jesse Pace to serve as a student delegate on its advisory committee for one year.

The committee draws from a nationwide pool of college students to fill seven elected positions and one appointed position. The student advisory committee meets with industry leaders to represent student interests and concerns to the academy.

Pace graduated from MSU this month, will begin her term as student delegate June 1, and will start a dietetic internship with the University of Alabama-Birmingham's School of Health Professions in August. However, Pace said she did not start her college career in dietetics.

"I changed my major during college from engineering to nutrition," Pace said. "I think what drew me to nutrition is while I'm not directly in the medical field, I can help people. There are so many careers I can go toward. I want to work, hopefully, in a childrens hospital."

Pace will meet with the other students on the committee in person this July in Chicago, Ill., after which she will join them at the academy's convention in Philadelphia, Pa. As student delegate, Pace said she will also be the only student representative among 100 members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics House of Delegates, and she hopes to bring a unique perspective to both the committee and the house.

"There are a few people from the Southeastern region (on the committee,) but I'm the only one from Mississippi," Pace said. "I just hope to shed some light on what's going on with Mississippi students, Alabama students and the region as a whole. I also hope to bring back what I've learned ... (and) hopefully improve and grow our program and also programs around the Southeast."

Pace said she discovered and applied for the advisory committee seeking a way to build involvement with the academy after her graduation. Sylvia Byrd, an associate professor of nutrition at MSU, said in a recommendation letter Pace's involvement at MSU includes not only a variety of elected and appointed positions in the MSU Student Dietetic Association, but also Phi Mu Sorority and the MSU Panhellenic Council.

"I have known Jesse for over two years as her teacher, (Didactic Program in Dietetics) Director, supervisor, mentor and Student Dietetic Association advisor," Byrd said. "During this time, I have had numerous opportunities to observe Jesse in a variety of roles. Jesse possesses a positive attitude, constant smile and dependable work ethic. She is organized, intuitive, a leader and a problem solver."

Byrd said Pace is the first MSU student to be chosen for the academy's advisory committee. She said the selection is an honor not only for Pace, but also for MSU, and it illustrates the quality of MSU's programs as a whole and the graduates they produce.

"It is an opportunity to showcase the MSU (food science, nutrition and health promotion) department and the nutrition program," Byrd said. "(Pace's) election will bring national attention to MSU and will influence recruitment of students."

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