Second-year dietetics student Tayla Knightbridge-Eager has been awarded the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Postgraduate Scholarship, sponsored by Nestlé New Zealand.
The $3000 scholarship is open to dietetics students enrolled in their second year of studying the Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) programme.
Finalists were asked to share how they have grown since starting the dietetic programme and how this has enabled them to bring the Nestlé purpose – “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future” – to life in their community over the past year.
“Dietetics has broadened my view of nutrition to not only encompass the health effects of food but also the social, psychological and environmental impacts of what and how we eat,” Ms Knightbridge-Eager says. “This has reinforced my belief that nutritious food should be enjoyed by all and that we need to overcome numerous barriers to enable our whānau to engage in healthy lifestyles.”
The 23-year-old says the dietetics programme gave her the confidence to volunteer at Recreate NZ, which provides social and recreational opportunities for youth with disabilities. “This year, my involvement has been centred on engaging in activities and eating out with young people with disabilities. In the future, I plan to extend this by volunteering in the orchard, growing and harvesting produce, and by making products such as preserves and soup.
“As part of the dietetics programme, I have also been lucky enough to work with speech and language therapists and to be an advocate for fussy eaters. For these experiences, I am very grateful,” she says.
Associate Professor Rozanne Kruger says the scholarship provides a unique opportunity for students to showcase not only their academic achievements, “but to also show their marked progress in developing their professional dietetic practice skills and abilities in their journey to become a registered dietitian. It is a privilege to contribute to their growth throughout their placements, projects and volunteer roles alongside their training. It is with great pleasure that we award this scholarship to Tayla.”
Ms Knightbridge-Eager has also participated in a placement based at the Nestlé head office in Auckland, with the purpose of supporting the Nestlé Cook for Life programme. Dietetic students participate by building on the nutrition knowledge, capability and confidence of teenagers through an interactive session about cooking and healthy food choices. The involvement of Massey dietetics students helped deliver the programme to more than 600 students at Manurewa High School - one of the largest decile one schools in South Auckland.
Amanda McDermott, New Zealand Wellness Manager for Nestlé, says the collaboration is a great example of how working in partnerships with other organisations can help to provide an even greater positive impact in the community. “We really value our ongoing partnership with Massey University and our relationship with Manurewa High School, together supporting nutrition, and health and wellness learning among their student community through Nestlé Cook for Life."