What leadership roles or volunteer experiences have been important to you during your time at Maryland?
My favorite volunteer experience at Maryland has been my time in the sports nutrition department. I have volunteered in many places and in many capacities, but Colleen's program, by far, has given me an incredible understanding of the role of proper nutrition in performance. Having a unique experience with a Division 1 Sports Nutrition Director is a huge résumé builder and puts me closer to contacts in the field. I am interested in tactical dietetics, which is a type of sports nutrition that specializes in military programs. I seek to maximize the physical assets tactical athletes need to be successful every day for every mission by integrating supportive nutrition and recovery strategies support both non-duty and mission operations for peak performance. Essentially, I would be a Dietitian that services a military population utilizing various training methods and systems. Colleen's program at UMD is giving me practical knowledge for that. My full list of experiences at Maryland can be found at my website, www.sarahwillardintern.com.
What has your scholarship meant to you and how has it enabled you to pursue new and exciting opportunities?
I completed my third pregnancy during the most difficult portion of our major’s science schedule (Fall 2015). My pregnancy required that I be placed on bed rest for 5 months, and I was unable to work. Childcare costs, commuting costs, and school fees became unbearable, as we had to charge all of these items to a credit card. During this time, we acquired over $21,000 in debt on that credit card so that I could continue school. This burden of debt caused daily financial stress, as a result. Now that I'm able to work, I would have loved to start paying down my debt, but I still had to earn over $1300 a month for current childcare costs. This did not cover commuting or course costs.
The scholarships I received were a necessity for my final year of school costs. Your assistance ensured that my commitment to successfully complete my first bachelor's degree was not impeded by the financial worries that accompany University attendance. The aid I received allowed me to finish my degree so that I could accept an internship position with Sodexo and start my Masters. By next October, I will officially be Sarah Willard, M.S. R.D..
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maryland, what makes this place special to you and what is your favorite part of being a Terp?
I chose the University of Maryland because their didactic program in Dietetics is heavily based in the medical sciences, and does not water down the material for nutrition majors. Taking time away from the workforce can be challenging, but I was and continue to be unwavering on my quest to be the future of the dietetics field. University of Maryland has given me the foundation to accomplish my dream career. This school is so special to me for the memories and the effort it took to be an alumna. In fact, I completed my third pregnancy during the most difficult portion of our major's science schedule. I balanced having three children under the age of 6, an active-duty spouse, an ill parent, double-shifts every weekend, volunteer work and a full-time school load. I had patient professors and encouraging colleagues. This school has provided me an education that is respected. I love being a Terp because our school is nationally ranked, is a Big10 school, has a gorgeous campus, and has a ton of resources for its students. Our school is recognized for being awesome and I'm proud to be known as a Terp for that reason.
What is your major, minor, class and graduation year?
Major: Food and Nutrition Sciences-Dietetics
Minor: Spanish business, language, and culture
Graduation Year: 2017
Tell us about your favorite class, extracurricular activity, academic opportunity, community involvement or another unique experience.
Please see my website, www.sarahwillardintern.com, for a complete list of these activities in depth.