A Student Approach to Finding a Retail Dietetic Internship

A Student Approach to Finding a Retail Dietetic Internship

January 13, 2016
Career Development

Amy Peick, senior dietetics student and aspiring retail dietitian

Amy Peick is conducting a dietetic internship at the Hy-Vee store in Oakdale, Minnesota, this semester.

Since being a part of the dietetics program at North Dakota State University, I have had endless opportunities to volunteer and participate in community nutrition and wellness events that have ignited my passion for community and retail dietetics. Some of those events include kids cooking classes, elementary school wellness events and grocery store tour trainings. Through my experiences, I have been able to do hands-on nutrition education, assist in program planning, give store tours and work directly with individuals in the community. I knew retail dietetics was an area I wanted to further explore as a possible career path, which led me to look for a retail dietetic internship this year. 

How I Got My Retail Dietetic Internship

I began contacting retail dietitians for internship possibilities about four months prior to my rotation start date. Although many supermarkets have a dietitian, I first looked into Hy-Vee, as they had just opened a brand new store near my hometown of Oakdale, Minnesota. I found the contact information for the dietitians on the website and began with a simple email. In my email, I included a brief introduction and my internship requirements. I then received a response back from Hy-Vee expressing great interest in having me as their student intern. From there, I worked with my program coordinator at NDSU and the Hy-Vee dietitians to complete the affiliation agreements for the 8-week internship. 

Prior to my rotation at Hy-Vee, I did a few things to prepare:

  • Discussed my goals and objectives with the dietitians to help plan the projects that I would work on and to identify areas where I may need more experience
  • Researched the programs and events the dietitians at Hy-Vee offer
  • Toured the new store so I could understand my work environment

Tips for Students to Finding an Internship

If you are a student with strong interest in the retail dietetics profession, here are some tips I recommend you follow to explore and secure an internship with a retailer:

  • Do research. What does a retail dietitian do? What retailers have dietitians?
  • Start looking for internships early. Begin the process at least six months prior to the start date of the rotation. 
  • Start by contacting dietitians from various supermarkets to inquire about internship opportunities.
  • Be specific when communicating about a possible internship. Provide specific requirements of your internship to the dietitian. Once a dietitian expresses interest in having you as an intern, ask when the internship will start, how long it will be, and how many hours per week it will require.  
  • Have an open mind and a positive attitude and be willing to move to new locations.

Over the course of my 8-week internship, I’ll return as an RDBA Weekly author to share insights from my experience. If you have any questions, please contact me at amy.e.peick@gmail.com.