The Road to RDville: FNCE 2013

Tomorrow I fly to Houston for the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) otherwise known as the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics convention. I love conferences. Just love them. As squirrels are to dogs, conferences are to me. Just ask my husband how many time I’ve said something like, “OMG! There’s this conference in [insert city] in [insert month] that looks absolutely a-mazing!” I don’t register for most of them, of course, because time and money are in limited supply, but I am super excited about the two I will be attending this fall. First up, FNCE. Here are some of the highlights I’m looking forward to the most:

The Big Picture

  • Learning. I view conferences as a valuable adjunct to my graduate education. Dietetics is a very diverse profession, and conferences allow me to hone in on those areas that spark my interest the most.
  • Networking. I love meeting people who are doing the types of things I hope to do myself, but I also like meeting people who are really into areas of nutrition and dietetics that I had possibly not even known about. Like I said, it’s a diverse profession! There are no shortage of morning and evening networking events, and I cram as many as possible into my schedule.

The Little Details

  • Nutrition Entrepreneurs. I’m honored to have been chosen to receive the Professional Development Dietetic Student Award from the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group this year. The fact that this means my trip to FNCE is paid for is huge, but this DPG has been a huge part of my auxiliary education, so I’m thrilled to have this special opportunity to get to know the NE board members. A more dynamic, dedicated group of women you will never meet.
  • Seeing my mentor in action. Judy Simon, give the Women’s Health spotlight presentation, “Promoting Fertility via Optimal Nutrition,” with Jorge Chavarro, MD, who has conducted a huge amount of research out of Harvard University on the effects of diet on human fertility. He is also the co-author of The Fertility Diet. I read the book, as well as all of his original research on fertility nutrition when I was doing my public health practicum with Judy, helping her with her Food For Fertility classes.
  • Reconnecting. A handful of students from the year ahead of me at UW (who are now RD’s or RDN’s of course) will be at FNCE. Most of them have left the Seattle area, so I haven’t seen them for almost a year. I also look forward to hanging out a bit with the student from my year who will be there, because I don’t see them as often as I would like!
  • Women’s Health. I am excited to accept the Outstanding Student in Women’s Health award, and from my mentor, no less. I have worked really hard in the four years since I started taking my grad school science prerequisites, and while awards were not a motivating factor, I won’t lie and say I’m not thrilled that my hard work is being recognized.
  • Ellie Krieger. I can’t wait to hear her lecture on “Bringing Cooking Back.” A subject near and dear to my heart, as presented by one of my favorite cookbook authors. Plus I really enjoyed her talk at FNCE 2012. I’m so there!
  • The food. I’ve heard many people crack jokes about Houston and food, but there is a bit of a culinary scene going on down there. I don’t know how many meals outside of the convention center I’ll have a chance to eat, but there is a harissa roasted half chicken with sweet potato gratin, grilled black kale and black olive vinaigrette at MKT BAR that is has my name on it. I’m glad my hotel room has a fridge to hold leftovers!

The conference officially starts Saturday afternoon, and I plan to blog about my experience starting Monday, and I’m sure I’ll be tweeting along the way, too. #FNCE