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Molly McEntee-Morris

Molly McEntee-Morris, from Higher Bebington, is studying the BSc Nutrition and Dietetics course at the University. She explains how, in a strange way, this year’s initial lockdown period back in March, led to her national, voluntary role with the British Dietetic Association (BDA): “Over the lockdown months, I felt it was essential to connect students, to support them during what we can all appreciate, has been an incredibly difficult time. As a student myself, who likes to source answers, I felt that, having gained confidence in speaking with new people, I would be more than happy to support other students in any way possible. I appreciate that many students do not have the confidence to speak up in lectures and, reflecting back, this was once me and that is totally OK!

“So I began to think of ideas on how to reach out to other dietetic students. I decided to create my own website: www.thedieteticstudent.com, by which dietetic students from different universities could utilise the forum space to get to know one another. It also provides a space to signpost individuals to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) opportunities, such as webinars. Further to this, I began holding live Q&As on my Instagram (@theaspiringdietitian), to gain first-hand advice and experience from registered dietitians and other students.”

When the position of Student Representative 2020/21 for the British Dietetic Association was advertised over the summer months, Molly realised that the experience she had gained, all from her living room, provided her with the confidence to go for the position.

She said: “The role as BDA Student Representative is extremely diverse and has proven in a short space of time to build further upon my communication skills, time management abilities and knowledge of the diversity of the dietetic profession. Writing for the RD2B e-zine, a magazine specifically for student dietitians, is one example of a monthly task. Over the following months, I will also be attending national student events to promote the BDA membership to dietetic students.

She added: “I have also taken over the BDA student Twitter account @BDAStudent, by which I regularly promote opportunities for students, provided by the BDA. Recently, I attended my first BDA Board of Directors meeting. I have found this extremely interesting and my position as Student Observer enables me to gain first-hand knowledge of decision making within the BDA, which has a huge influence on public health. I am also able to provide a student perspective on discussion points where appropriate.

“With all these opportunities, I now feel much more comfortable with public speaking. I would advise others in a similar position to step outside your comfort zone and you’ll be surprised by how much more capable you are than you may believe!”

Seóna Dunne, Lecturer in Health and Nutrition at the University of Chester, said: “I am very proud of Molly and her achievement. Molly has demonstrated the importance of transferable skills such as public speaking and communication skills in taking on this new role, as well as inspiring her fellow students. I wish Molly the best of luck in this coveted role and hope she enjoys the experience.”

Professor Lynne Kennedy, Head of the Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition at the University, said “This really is a great outcome for Molly and just shows what can be achieved by taking a leap of faith, trying something new and using initiative. Molly is clearly enjoying her role as the BDA student representative and is exposed to all kinds of interesting opportunities to enhance her employability. What I like most about this, however, is that Molly is providing a platform to support the professional development of other students as well and so it is not just another story about one individual. This is a great example of being a Citizen Student, and showing how university students can have a wider impact in society.”

 

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