First Trip to FNCE: Celebrating 100 years in Chicago

Upset you missed FNCE? Interested in going next year? Not sure how to afford FNCE as a student? Don’t worry, we are all there. However, it is important to know going to FNCE as a student is possible!! There are many opportunities for us at dietetic students to be able to attend FNCE. Scholarships, volunteer work, discounts, etc.

Here’s is TSDA’s treasurer, Adrian Boulter’s story of her trip to FNCE this year:




As a budgeting college student, I never imagined I would have the outstanding opportunity to attend the Academy’s Food and Nutrition Convention and Expo (FNCE). Because of my very gracious employer, Register Dietitian Neva Cochran, who guided me to a reduced registration fee and funded all of the other expenses, I was flying out to Chicago Saturday morning with bags packed for a 4-day adventure of professional development and networking.

I flew into Chicago O’hare airport and took an hour trip on the train for just $3 to McCormick Hyatt Regency. When I got there, I immediately encountered a multitude of expo booths in a massive convention center. First stop was opening session, which couldn’t have kicked off the event any better. Our Academy president, Donna Martin, energetically greeted us and told her touching story of her journey as president and the Academy’s vision. She introduced past Academy president Doris Derelian, who received the Academy’s highest honor, the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award. Doris was a delight as she thanked “bundles” of supporters in her life in her impressive memory coat covered in patches from when she served as president.


Donna then introduced the multiple Emmy award winning chief medical correspondent of CNN and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He spoke on important topics with such valuable insight and presented it in such an entertaining fashion.

After we were released I headed out to attend a few sessions and explore the expo. There were a variety of session topics that touched on a variety of areas including diversity, public speaking, leadership, culinary demos, food accessibility, career paths, entrepreneurship, agriculture, clinical practice and more. The expo took me over 2 days to get through it all and by the end I had two free tote bags full of free samples and information. There was a cranberry bog, a body fat analysis machine, career and educational opportunities, SO MANY FREE SAMPLES, and many other interesting aspects to the expo.

My favorite session was titled, “Improv for Effective & Adaptive Communication”. The speakers paired everyone and had us do many humorous and creative activities. There were also DPG meetings such as the Dietitians in Business and Nutrition Entrepreneurs where you got to network face to face with members, eat yummy food, and learn from experts. On Monday, I attended the Foundation Gala at Navy Pier at Neva’s table where there was food and cocktails in a beautiful setting. We celebrated the donors and recipients of the Academy Scholarships and I ended the night dancing with friends, professionals and the Academy president! It was so much fun!


On the last day, I started the morning volunteering. Prior to this trip, Neva encouraged me to apply for a student host opportunity and because I was accepted I only had to pay a $25 registration fee! I helped speakers prepare for their session and scan attendee’s badges, which lasted around to 4 hours total. The job was very easy going and it was where I met my new student host friend Giovoni, who is a current dietetic intern in Washington D.C. and native of Jamaica. At the closing session, we listen to physicist and futurist, Dr. Michio Kaku, talk about his very intriguing vision for the future in 2117. According to Dr. Kaku, artificial intelligence will be highly utilized in everyday life but humans will still be needed to perform many job duties so rest assured, dietitians will still have work to do!

Overall, I was very impressed with my experience at FNCE and will never forget it. Not only was it a good resource for professional growth, but also an opportunity to venture a new city! Chicago is a very beautiful place with so much to do. Now that I know what FNCE is all about I want to go to as many as I can! Hopefully I can go to the next one that will be held in Washington D.C., check out the sites and see Giovoni while I am there!


If Adrian can do it, you can do it too! Start planning for your trip FNCE next year in Washington, D.C. October 20-23, 2018.


Published by texasdieteticstudents

State-wide organization for dietetics students across Texas! We are a branch of the Texas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics! Join us in our journey to health and wellness!

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