Skip Navigation
*To search for student contact information, login to FlashLine and choose the "Directory" icon in the FlashLine masthead (blue bar).

Student Spotlight

NUTRITION INTERNS

1.   Name: Amanda GerkenAmanda Gerken

2. Year: Senior

3. Where are you from originally? Marietta, OH

4. Are you a full- or part-time student? Full-time student

5. Are you working and/or volunteering in addition to taking classes? If so, where?

I am currently working at Subway and volunteering through the Nutrition Outreach Center with the Munch Bunch program and a few various other activities.

6. What made you interested in nutrition and dietetics? I am very interested in health and eating and how they correlate together. In today's society in the U.S., many individuals do not eat healthy or know how to eat correctly for their body, and I want to help teach others how to feel better and be more healthful in a way that fits with their lifestyle.

7. What is your favorite class and/or faculty member, and why? My favorite class I have had so far was Food Study because I loved the cooking and learning about the science of food and how it can be used in cooking to create many different dishes. My favorite faculty member is Dr. Natalie Caine-Bish because she is always so helpful and reassuring. She is very good with meeting with students and always has plenty of help and support to offer.

8. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far? I feel like one of my biggest accomplishments through the last two years is being able to balance a job and my coursework. It is very difficult to manage one's time and to be able to say I have done it successfully, makes me feel great.

9. Where do you see yourself after graduation? What is your dream job? After graduation, I hope to be headed into a Master's and internship dual program. I'm not entirely sure where I want to be after that, however, I hope to figure that out over the next year during the internship program.

10. What activities do you like to take part in outside of the University?

Between work, school, and volunteering there isn’t much free time left. When I do have free-time, I enjoy spending it with friends over dinner and movie nights or walking around downtown Kent. I also enjoy coming home to see my family too.

11. What do you wish someone told you to expect when you started classes on campus?

I wish someone would have told me to expect friendly people. Everyone is in the same boat, being kind of nervous about starting their classes and making new friends. It's not high school anymore; people are always reaching out and looking to make new connections. 

12. What do you have to have in order to have a good study session? For me personally, a good study session ends in getting through a lot of material and retaining all the information.

13. Where is your favorite place to grab lunch on campus? Kent Market 2

14. What is your go-to snack when you are in a time crunch? Special K cereal bars!

15. If you could be any fruit or vegetable, which one would you choose and why?

I would be a banana because they are the most convenient thing to grab on the go, and I am almost always going. They have quite a few vitamins in them and just so happen to be my favorite color. Did I mention they are delicious!?




1.  Name:Ashley Rickardashley rickard

2. Expected Graduation (Semester, Year): Summer 2013

3. What degree(s) have you earned? Where are they from?B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University

4. Where are you from originally? Western PA

5. Are you a full- or part-time student? Full-time

6. Are you a graduate assistant and/or work? If so, where?No

7. Are you completing a Master’s Project or Thesis? What topic does it focus on? I’m completing a Master’s Thesis on the topic of muscle dysmorphia.  It’s a body image disturbance in which individuals (mostly men) perceive themselves as inadequately muscular and become preoccupied with increasing their muscularity.  I’m hoping to examine the prevalence of this condition in a population of NCAA collegiate athletes, recreational exercisers, and non-exercisers and determine whether it impacts dietary intake.

8. What inspired you to enter the field of nutrition and dietetics?

Food is so much more than just a collection of molecules which interact with the body to make it function.  Food is something that each of us share, and it can bond friends, unlock memories, and soothe the soul.  By caring for a patient's diet, dietitians are able to care for them at a much deeper level than just their caloric intake.  We can address their overall well-being, meet them where they are at, and be good listeners.  For me, being a dietitian is a way that I can use the skills and knowledge I have gained to really love and show compassion to people from many different walks of life.

9. What has been the most rewarding experience for you in graduate school?

I loved my summer clinical rotation at Lakewood Hospital.  It was challenging at first because the amount I had to learn was quite overwhelming, but by the end of the summer, I realized that I actually can do this job and be a dietitian.  I loved the medical environment because the human body is so complex, and there is always more to learn.  It’s challenging because you never know what you’re going to see or the kind of patients you’ll be working with, but that makes it exciting.

10. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to work in either clinical dietetics or sports nutrition, but I’m truly open to any of the wide variety of nutrition careers that exist.  We’ll see where God takes me.

11. What activities do you like to take part in outside of the University?

I love being active and being outside, whether that be riding my bike, playing ultimate frisbee with friends, or just taking a walk.  I also enjoy being creative.  I love music, listening to it and making it, and the latest hobby I have taken up is photography.

12. What do you wish someone told you to expect when you started your graduate coursework?

There will be times when you feel like you’re doing a million things at once and you don’t know how everything could possibly get done.  Don’t worry though, because it always gets done one way or another.  Don’t forget to continue doing the things you love and enjoying your friends and family because those are the things which will keep you sane.

13. What is your favorite comfort food when you are stressed out?

This is a typical girl answer, but chocolate, anything chocolate.

14. What is your favorite dinner recipe when you are in a time crunch?

I usually make a veggie pizza.  You can throw on any healthy toppings you might have in the fridge like green peppers, yellow squash, tomatoes, olives, spinach, or anything else.  It’s quick to make and eat, delicious, and gives you a serving of vegetables.

15. If you could be any fruit or vegetable, which one would you choose and why?

I’d probably be a grape, so I’d get to hang with my cluster of friends all the time.  And then later we could get our guitars and jam together (cheesy jokes intended).






1.     Name: Rocco RussoRoccoRusso_nutrition

2.     What degree(s) have you earned? Where are they from?

I have received my bachelors of science in Nutrition and Community Health from the Ohio State University 

3.     Where are you from originally? Where are you currently residing?

I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I currently reside there as well. 

4.     What inspired you to enter the field of nutrition and dietetics?

A nutrition/cooking class I took at my high school inspired me to enter this field.

5.      What does your thesis focus on?

My thesis focused on the nutrition therapy for HIV-positive individuals. One of the major goals was to identify gaps between the nutrition education provided and desired by the population.    

6. Do you have any plan after graduation?

I currently have not solidified plans after graduation, but it will consist of job searching and preparing for the dietetic registration exam. 

7.      What has been your favorite rotation during your internship?

My favorite rotation was my special community rotation at The Gathering Place in Cleveland, OH and my summer clinical experience at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ.

8.      Which professor has most inspired you?

The entire faculty has been very inspiring throughout my time at Kent State.The professor who most inspired me was Dr. Natalie Cain-Bish.She has been supportive, encouraging, and has challenging me to do better. 

9. Where do you see yourself after five years?

I see myself working in a clinical dietetics setting.I could also see myself working or volunteering my time in some community aspect. 

10. What is your favorite memory at Kent State so far?

My favorite memory at Kent State so far was during one of the Campus Kitchen education lesson at the local food bank in Kent.It was one of the larger groups that ever attended.The participants were engaged the entire time and asked a lot of questions, which made us all feel like we were really helping them.


FORMER INTERN: Renee Brenneman

Renee Brenneman

Renee Brenneman, a 2007 Nutrition and Dietetics alumna, has returned to the Cleveland area to continue her career as a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic.

Listen to her journey.