January 4, 2018

Meet Emily Youngblood in our Dietetic Internship program

Meet Emily Youngblood in our Dietetic Internship program. She is our featured Student Highlight #UAMSCHP

My name is Emily Youngblood. I grew up in San Diego until I was 14 and have lived in Little Rock since then.

From the time I could stand on a step-stool, I was interested in cooking. My entire childhood I thought that I wanted to be a chef when I grew up. In 8th grade I took a class called “Food Chemistry” and everything started into motion. I realized how much I really enjoyed science, so then I thought I might want to be a food scientist. During high school, some health issues led me to see a Registered Dietitian, and then it all clicked. Being a dietitian is the perfect combination of my love for food, science, and helping people.

I want to help address malnutrition in Latin America. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on how community gardens impact the nutritional status of individuals living in rural impoverished villages, and I would like to either start a non-profit, or come alongside an existing one, that teaches people how to garden as a means for sustenance and to give their children a chance at a life without the burden of hunger.

I think humanitarian efforts are largely missing the mark by just handing out food to people. In my opinion, we need to teach people how to learn the skills they need to live a life that provides for their basic needs. I am fully aware that I am not the first person to have this thought, nor will I be the last. I also believe that changing even just one person’s life for the better is worth it. Community gardens and basic nutrition knowledge could bring freedom to a lot of people in the aspect of being chained to hunger and malnutrition and all of the problems that those bring. I want to make a change in our world, but not for the notoriety or fame that I could receive (I don’t think I’ll receive it in the first place), but I want to change the world, even if it is just for one small village.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa

I love being in a program in which everyone is on the same page: we all want to be here, we all love nutrition, we all roll our eyes at fad-diets, and we don’t have to explain what quinoa is, or how to pronounce it, when we are eating it for lunch. On a serious note, I have been so honored to be in such a selective program with an incredible group of women that stand for science and are passionate about becoming the most qualified healthcare professionals.

I graduate in May 2018. After graduation, I would love to just take a break for a year and travel with my husband, but since that’s not quite reality, I hope to get a job working with the latino/a community while I finish up my master’s. I enjoy gardening, cooking, and hanging out with my dog and my husband.

One of the biggest people to influence my life is a undergraduate professor of mine, Mrs. Rachel Schichtl. She believed in me when I told her that I wanted to spend three months doing thesis research in Guatemala. She encouraged me to push beyond just what was required of me in my major and asked me to go above and beyond. She helped me through what felt like my world collapsing when I realized I would need an extra semester to graduate. She was patient with me when I experienced even more health problems in college, and she consistently called me to be more, but never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.

My faith is a huge part of who I am and why I do what I do, so that is one major part. The next is that I started sponsoring a little girl through Compassion International when I was in high school. I have had the opportunity to meet her on a few different occasions and she’s now twelve years old. Whenever I think of her and her family and how much joy they have though they are living through such trials, I can’t help but forget whatever challenge I’m facing in that moment because it is nothing compared to what this family faces on a daily basis.

I hope that future students know that this program is hard, but it’s worth it. You will find some dear friends and you may also realize that an area of Dietetics you always thought you wanted to go into isn’t what’s right for you. You know what? THAT IS OKAY. I think oftentimes in this profession we have very similar personality types and we get our minds set on something and then can’t ever deviate from that plan. I want future dietetic interns to know that there is freedom to be flexible and have an open mind in whatever rotation you are in because that might just be what you are made for.

What motivates you? I’m motivated by the fact that I’m not special. There will always be people smarter than me, with bigger challenges than I face, with more money, and more gifts than I have. However, that motivates me to be the best version of MYSELF that I can be. Not the best version of my best friend, of my boss, of anyone else, just me. That gets me out of bed each day and encourages me to keep going.