An Outsider’s Perspective: What I Have Learned While Interning at UDIM
What comes to mind when you hear the word intern? Paperwork, coffee runs, alphabetizing files? While that may be the first idea that comes to mind, it is nowhere near the experience I have had while interning with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM). My experience has been more than amazing and I can’t wait to share with you all, what I have learned in my two short weeks.
Currently, I am a dietetic intern with Western Michigan University. For those who don’t know, dietetics is the study of human food and nutrition. Dietitians can work in a variety of settings whether it be a hospital, community setting such as a health department, food service management, public schools, and also the places like the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
Coming into my first day I was unsure what to expect. I felt like the newest calf in the barn while acclimating to my environment and beginning to discover new ways dietitians incorporate their love for nutrition in terms of the dairy industry. As most know, dairy is an essential part of a healthy diet, but the question is, where can we gain more knowledge on it? Look no further than the wonderful staff. The staff at UDIM consists of a sports dietitian, school wellness specialist, nutrition outreach specialist, a director of industry relations, school nutrition program manager, nutrition marketing manager, an executive director of marketing and communications and the list goes on. They all work together to promote dairy and its high value. While interning, I was able to talk one on one with a few different staff and here is some of what I learned:
- Fuel Up to Play 60. Have you heard of it? The school wellness specialist coordinates this school-centered program. It is a great way to teach kids and teens how to improve their health and increase physical activity not only for the school as a whole but also as individuals.
- Michigan dairy farms! I toured two different dairy farms in Michigan during my time at UDIM. I learned all about the milking process and, most importantly, the nutrition cows receive. Did you know there is a such thing as a dairy nutritionist? They determine what nutrition is best for the cow so they get the most out of what they consume. How awesome!
- If you’re looking for a post-workout drink of choice look no further than chocolate milk. I spent some time talking with UDIM’s sports dietitian, where she told me all about what she does and the importance of chocolate milk as a recovery beverage. With its nine essential nutrients and, even better, the perfect blend of protein, carbohydrate, fluid and electrolytes, this beverage will ensure you are recovering properly and therefore enhancing health and well-being.
- The United Dairy Industry of Michigan does an amazing job educating youth and their families on the importance of dairy. If you happen to be out and about this summer look for the Milk Mustache Tour Trailer. They have incorporated fun interactive ways for youth and their families to be educated on nutrition and lead an active lifestyle. The best part is you can try free samples of ice cream, flavored milk, go-gurts, string cheese, and hot cocoa.
As my time with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan comes to an end, I get to reflect back on all that I was able to learn and experience. This would not have been possible without the team at UDIM, a group of hardworking, inspiring individuals who really love what they do. When you have a team so passionate about dairy and getting their message out to others, it makes an experience like mine much more fulfilling. If there is one thing I can take away from this experience, it’s this: open your mind to new adventures while learning from a different perspective. And on that note, cheers to a delicious, nutritious glass of milk!
Samantha Beyerlein is a dietetic intern with Western Michigan University.