TSDA Inside Scoop

TSDA Inside Scoop: Grad Student Antonio Miranda Shares Advice on Internship Apps and Starting Grad School

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Antonio Miranda attended Texas A&M University for his undergraduate program. He went through the internship application and matching process and successfully matched with Texas Woman’s University. Below he shares some tips he has for those currently going through the process or who will be in the future.

We first started our interview with Antonio by asking him why he picked the program he is attending currently (Texas Woman’s University). His main reasons for wanting to go to TWU were the current pass rates for the RDN exam, the focus on medical nutrition therapy, the diverse and populous area, and in his words a “truly GREAT program that challenges and prepares students for their internship and beyond, as stated by other dietitians I have worked with”. RDN pass rates, the internships focus, location, and professional recommendations are all great ways to start narrowing down schools that are a good fit.

The next question Antonio tackled is the question on every DPD students mind during the application process, how did you plan for this internship (time/finances/living/etc.). He explained that TWU worked well for him because it was close to his parents’ house, so that really helped financially. One helpful hint is to look at schools that are located close to family or close friends to reduce costs on rent. As for time, Antonio has just started and is still in the graduate school component of his combined program. He shared that graduate school is structured a lot different than his undergraduate program. There are more essays, articles, and exams which he finds creates a less stressed environment because he is really learning the material because “you no longer fell you are being ‘weeded out’ like in some of the undergrad courses.”

Each internship program varies on the allowance of working a job on the side. He shares that most people in his program work as graduate students or dietetic technician registered. However, Antonio works as a substitute teacher one to two times a week which helps him financially as well. Check with internship directors while applying to see if there are opportunities associated with the program to work or if working is recommended.

Antonio Miranda’s two tips for standing out in the application process:

  1. Make your personal statement….PERSONAL! This is the most important thing! Everyone writes a personal statement that will include academics, leadership roles, experiences, and more, so you need to BE YOURSELF and make it personal. Ask yourself: what makes me different? What makes me special? (Believe it or not, we are all unique in our own way. We are all equals, but we are all special as well.) This is what will help you stand out. For me, I focused on being a first generation college student and making the most of my opportunities that my parents, unfortunately never had. I also focused on what led me to see nutrition as my calling (seeing my sister with anorexia, being overweight as a kid, family members with diabetes and more…again…unique). This one is especially important because EVERYONE WRITES “my passion is nutrition,” but explain why! Why is it your passion? What makes you want to help people, why is it important to you? Three words: MAKE-IT-PERSONAL.
  2. Have a lot of your friends (especially those who are English majors, professionals, and even graduate students) review and revise your essays. As for the revising and editing process, I had about 20 friends (all skilled at writing essays…don’t just pick anyone, pick those that write essays in their majors, that have applied to grad school, English majors, and others too) review my personal statement. While the words changed and became more organized, it was still my voice and my ideas, but just clearer. Having many people check it will also allow you to see which suggestions you will use and which you won’t (I didn’t listen to what everyone said/wrote because there is no such thing as the perfect essay, every opinion is different). Again, keep it personal.

His last advice to applicants is:

Do not be afraid. Have faith. Apply to many or apply to a few. Everyone’s path is different, so don’t feel like you have to make it the first time, or have to apply to 20 places. Have faith because if you make it then GREAT. If not great too because guess what? There have been hundreds of students before us that didn’t get in the first time yet they still become RDN’s eventually. Stress a little as you apply to DICAS, but when you submit, go relax, enjoy your senior year (if you are still in undergraduate) and check everything off your bucket list for before graduation. Then when April comes around, it will be natural to stress, but BREATHE, it will all be alright. Have faith.”

While he has not started his rotations yet, Antonio shares that he loves how applicable the material is to his future as an RDN. This had made him even more excited to start his rotations in June. In graduate school, one of his favorite opportunities was when the students went to a local high school to teach the importance of recipe modification. He can’t wait to have more stories when the rotation starts.

After he finishes his internship, his goals are to “ace the RDN exam, finish up my master’s degree, and save up some money by working as a substitute teacher…then at the end of my final semester using that money to travel. Once the travel money is done I will come back refreshed and ready to enter the workforce…finally!” He admits that there are so many fields in dietetics, so he doesn’t know exactly what he wants to go into. However, with his strong background in teaching and his passion for helping people, he could see himself becoming a certified diabetes educator; he would then give classes in English and Spanish. In his dietetic career, he has four goals that he wants to change: 1) changing food policy to slow food waste and help the impoverished 2) nutrition education for both patients and fellow professionals 3) helping people achieve their fitness goals and 4) helping the world. He states “I will change the dietetics game… through effective education, interpersonal relationships, and a mentality of service.”

Written By Erin Maxwell, Historian of TSDA.

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