Cathrine knew that whatever career path she took would involve helping others. While in high school she made the decision to study business but it wasn’t far into this path that she was introduced to the idea of studying dietetics and nutrition. Nutrition offered her an opportunity to explore her interest in healthy living while providing the perfect mix of the ‘hard’ sciences such as chemistry and biology, with the ‘softer’ sciences like sociology and psychology. Cathrine found her true calling.
When it came to deciding where to study, she was drawn to LJMU as the Nutrition degree is accredited by the Association for Nutrition: “Before I started, I knew that anyone could call themselves a nutritionist, so I wanted to make sure I was getting the highest quality education possible.”
Currently a science communication intern at the European Food Information Council in Belgium, Cathrine’s role involves overseeing the day-to-day management of PROTEIN2FOOD. She’s been able to develop project management skills, learn how to engage with different European partners, juggle multiple tasks, and develop her creative writing, web development and social media management skills.
“The skills I’ve learned from my internship will definitely help me in my future career. I think it’s always important to be able to understand, summarise and translate scientific evidence to more bite size and appealing information for others and I think I will need this skill wherever I end up. The network I have gained from this internship as well is great. I have met many people from our European partners of the PROTEIN2FOOD project and will continue to stay in contact with them. Being in Brussels has also opened my eyes up to new opportunities that I had never thought of.”
It's not only her internship that will help open doors in terms of career options, her role with London Model World Health Organization (WHO) Simulation will show potential employers her ability to communicate, collaborate and work on resolutions to real-world issues.
Cathrine (bottom left) poses with fellow London Model WHO Simulation participants. © London Model WHO Simulation
During the Model WHO Simulation, participants recreate the process of the annual World Health Assembly, addressing health issues at local, national and international levels. Participants take part in regional debate sessions on a particular theme and are given the opportunity to collaborate on a resolution paper. After the resolution papers are presented and voted on in the final plenary, the documents are submitted to the WHO in Geneva to demonstrate the capacity of the next generation of global health leaders.
Cathrine represented South Africa as one of the member states on the theme of maternal, child and adolescent health. Taking part in this simulation provided her with some valuable skills:
“I learned negotiation skills, because when you write resolution papers you must negotiate with all countries in your region as well as private representatives. You get to network with students from other universities who could potentially become your future colleagues. I got to understand how the WHO Assembly works and the structures behind it and lastly, stepping out of my comfort zone really helped increase my confidence and understand what kind of jobs are out there for me.”
So what’s out there for Cathrine? Down the line, she would like to work for non-profit organisations such as the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations or the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. Long term, she aims to work with nutrition or health policy.
Benefitting from the opportunities she was given at LJMU and thoroughly enjoying her course, Cathrine wouldn’t hesitate to recommend studying Nutrition, especially because of the campus location and the excellent teaching staff:
“IM Marsh Campus is like a community and that really helped me personally to grow and explore. I felt a lot more comfortable being able to knock on my lecturers’ doors whenever and have a chat with them. We also have smaller classes, so you get to interact with the lecturers more. The lecturers are what make the degree in any university and I was constantly challenged and pushed to do better, which has since really helped my confidence in my nutrition knowledge.”
Cathrine has won the Institute of Food Science and Technology Science Communications Competition with her article “Quin-What? Cultivating Exotic Protein-Rich Crops in Europe”. Her article will be published in December’s issue of Food Science & Technology magazine.