NHS graduate student receives ANDF scholarship

Andrea Laughlin
NHS graduate student Andrea Laughlin received the Marie E. Knickrehm Scholarship from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.

NHS graduate student receives ANDF scholarship

12 Jan 2018    By Brad Stauffer

Nutrition and Health Sciences graduate student Andrea Laughlin has received the Marie E. Knickrehm Scholarship from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. The $6,000 scholarship is for the current school year. Laughlin, who is from Lincoln, completed her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2014 and is currently working on a master’s degree in dietetics.

“I am so excited to receive this scholarship from the Academy,” said Laughlin. “I have been a member of the Academy since I started studying Dietetics 6 years ago and have received so much guidance from other dietitians along the way of becoming a registered dietitian (RD) this year. It means so much to me that I receive this award to help me fund the rest of my graduate school.”

Laughlin’s advisor, Linda Young, associate professor of practice, encouraged Laughlin to apply and got her started about this time last year. Laughlin had a full plate, completing her dietetics internship, planning her wedding, studying and sitting for the registered dietetics exam and starting her first job as a clinical dietitian at Bryan Health. She was notified that the scholarship award was being postponed until August, but she didn’t get her hopes up.

“When I got the email that I was receiving this award, I couldn’t believe it,” said Laughlin.

Her journey was not unlike many students who aren’t sure what degree or career to pursue. It had starts and pauses. She began her undergraduate education as a psychology major, but after a year, she had lost interest and was having financial challenges. She left school, but it wasn’t long  before she found her passion and new career direction.

“I have always loved food and I was becoming more aware of the false knowledge people are getting about diets, losing weight and food in general,” Laughlin said. “I learned that dietitians are the food and nutrition experts, and I knew that that was just what I wanted to be. I wanted to know the truth, and I wanted to help others learn the truth on how to feed themselves the way their body wants and needs to be fed.”

She came back to UNL in 2012 to complete her bachelor’s degree, dietetics internship and RD exam. It took over five years to accomplish all this, but she says it was all worth it, and she is grateful to be receiving the scholarship to help her continue her dietetics education with a master’s degree.

“My passion for nutrition grows each day, as I learn more about the physiology of the human body and nutrition science that is new and developing,” she says. “I'm so proud to have met the friends and mentors that I have along the way.”

Laughlin plans to stay in her job as a clinical dietitian, after she completes her master’s degree, and remain in Lincoln, a city that she and her husband love. “The learning never stops in my field,” notes Laughlin. “It's becoming a much more competitive profession, so completing my master's degree will not only increase my knowledge in the field of nutrition but also provide me with higher credentials.”

College of Education and Human Sciences
Nutrition and Health Sciences