Member Spotlights & Awards

Recognizing the achievements of VAND members

Annual Award Recipients

Congratulations To The Following 2022 VAND Annual Award Recipients!

OUTSTANDING DIETITIAN OF THE YEAR

NANCY FARRELL, RDN

Each year the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics presents the highest honor that is bestowed upon a well-deserving Registered Dietitian Nutritionist VAND member: the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award.

This award recognizes hard work, loyalty, integrity, and leadership within our organization on a district and state level. He or she exemplifies the Vision of AND to optimize health through food and nutrition; she promotes the Mission of AND which is to empower members to be the food and nutrition leaders.

The Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award for Virginia goes to Nancy Farrell, RDN, from the Northern District of VAND.

EMERGING DIETETICS LEADER

BRITTANY WHEATLEY, RD, LDN

The Emerging Dietetics Leader Award for Virginia goes to Brittany Wheatley, RD, LDN, from the Northern District of VAND.

RECOGNIZED YOUNG DIETITIAN OF THE YEAR

RACHAEL TROTMAN, RD, CNSC

The Recognized Young Dietitian Of the Year Award for Virginia goes to Rachael Trotman, RD, CNSC from the Blue Ridge District of VAND.

OUTSTANDING DIETETIC STUDENT

EMILY JENKINS

The Outstanding Dietetic Student Award for Virginia goes to Emily Jenkins from the Southwest District of VAND.

Member Spotlight

Highlighting Our Incredible VAND Members!

 

Interviewer: What is your current position of employment? What are the responsibilities you have in that role?

I am the Assistant Director of Community Wellness at the Dairy Alliance. In this role I wear many different hats but primarily work with universities, media outlets, different community programs, WIC, health professional groups, and fellow dietitians to provide education on dairy nutrition and the role that it plays in providing essential nutrients for growth and development. As a part of my role, I also get to teach about dairy farming practices and help bridge the gap between consumers and agriculture. 

Interviewer: What a variety of responsibilities! What was your original career plan? How has that changed over time?

I thought I was going to be a dietitian, then I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I worked as a clinical dietitian for four and a half years and it was a really good learning experience for me to start out my career, but I was ready for a change. I wanted to try something different. I feel really lucky to have found a more unique role as a dietitian, because I love working in agriculture, but also working in community wellness is a big privilege. I definitely took a bit of a turn from wanting to work in clinical, but it was a good foundation and it helped to launch me into the next part of my career.

Interviewer: Was there something that sparked the agriculture interest for you? 

I always was interested in agriculture. I grew up close to rural areas, and I grew up riding horses. I was interested in what we would now term sustainable farming and what that means, and I was really curious about how to connect my career to agriculture. When this job opportunity came up, that I was forwarded from one of my previous preceptors, I thought, well, that’s different and unique! 

Interviewer: I am so glad you found such a unique position that you enjoy! What is one piece of career advice you wish you would have received from a mentor when you were early on in your career?

I might have received this advice, but not have listened to it as much, and that would be to get involved as much as you can. Get involved with your community organizations and get involved with your local AND groups. There are so many opportunities when you get involved and you build connections at those levels. Whether it is a job or volunteering, building connections is invaluable, especially when you are looking for a more nontraditional role like I am in. Looking outside the box and getting involved with things is how you find those roles. 

Interviewer: Absolutely, getting involved and building those connections are both so important. Describe a professional experience that has stretched you and how have you grown from that experience.

I think making a huge career change from working in clinical to working in community was definitely a learning shift for me. Getting more involved with farming and agriculture, there was so much that I learned that I had no grasp of before I entered into this work. That was a huge learning curve for me in a positive way. It was a whirlwind going from having a really good grasp on what I was doing with clinical care and working in ICUs, and then all of a sudden that was not my job anymore. I got to learn and educate myself in a new area and it was a lot of being invested in teaching myself as I navigated my new role working in the dairy community. It taught me not to be afraid if you don’t know much about a topic, go ahead, and try to get yourself involved. A lot of times, we’re just learning as we go! And in hindsight this transition is now a strength because when I am educating on dairy and dairy farming, I have a good idea of where those knowledge gaps might be since I encountered them too. 

Highlighted Member

Callie Yakubisin, RDN

This month we are excited to welcome Callie Yakubisin, RDN, as our member spotlight. Callie is from the Greater Richmond District of the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (VAND).

Interviewer: How do you see the field of dietetics evolving over the next 10 years in your specific area of practice?

Well, specifically in my role, I am still educating on the role that dairy plays in providing essential nutrition but there’s now also more of an emphasis on educating on the role that dairy farming can play in supporting a sustainable food system. With a growing concern about climate change it’s essential that we have the conversation about what the dairy industry is doing to ensure they are producing milk in a sustainable fashion. And for me, this is a good story to tell since dairy farmers use many different sustainability practices and have made a commitment to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.  Additionally, my role is adapting to create more opportunities for future dietitians and other community members to experience a dairy farm themselves. As I see a growing mistrust in our food system, I think there is so much value in providing opportunities to talk with farmers and better understand the complexities of producing food for a growing population. 

Interviewer: Yeah, absolutely. That is definitely part of the job as a dietitian – debunking all of the different information that people get from every direction about food! What is your favorite aspect of being a VAND member?

I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with other dietitians. Being a part of my local dietetics group and being able to connect with other dietitians and learn about their unique roles and what they’re doing is definitely my favorite thing. There are so many unique roles that dietitians can take on, and you get to hear about the challenges that they’re facing. I really think that community experience helps, and it’s a welcoming support system. 

Interviewer: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?

When I’m not working, I love to read, run, and cook different recipes in my kitchen. I like to try out unique recipes and things that get my daughter involved and interested in what we’re making. It is very exciting when she is also excited about the food that we have made!

Interviewer: That’s wonderful! Who inspires you and why?

Our farmers inspire me. The work that they do to feed our population truly inspires me. With all the challenges that they’re having to navigate whether that is weather or financial, it can be really hard for them. The work that they put in day in and day out to produce food for our communities is inspiring.

Interviewer: Callie, thank you so much for being involved in our VAND Member Spotlight and for sharing your story with us. It has been a pleasure getting to talk with you! 

Phone

703-815-8293

Address

Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
PO BOX 595, Great Falls VA 22066