Rachael May

AGNR Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight Rachael May headshot image

Name: Rachael May

Major and Minor: Dietetics Major, General Business Minor

Expected Graduation: May 2021

Why did you choose your particular major?

I originally became interested in dietetics when I was in high school. I was a year-round athlete and wanted to learn how to properly fuel my body to perform my best. So through that, I initially became interested in sports nutrition. It wasn't really until I attended a Johns Hopkins event titled "what is a dietitian" my senior year of high school where I learned the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist, all the qualifications needed to become a dietitian, and all the fields a dietitian could potentially work in. It was then when I realized the depth of what a registered dietician truly does. Once I learned the versatility of a dietitian and the importance they play on the clinical aspect of nutrition, I knew it was what I wanted to pursue for my career. 

What types of clubs/organizations are you involved in that relate to your major?

I have held multiple executive positions within the Student Dietetic Association at the University of Maryland. It is here that I strengthened my leadership and interpersonal skills. As Community Outreach Chair, I learned to effectively manage large groups through the organization and oversight of events. As Vice President, I drove record-breaking participation in a peer mentoring program. Currently, as President, I have further adapted the organization by reorganizing club functions and transitioning to a digital platform. I have worked diligently to set the vision of the organization while overseeing the executive board and planning career-building events by networking with industry professionals. 

I also volunteer as a peer educator and nutrition coach for the University Health Center. Within this role, I utilize motivational interviewing techniques, food records, and 24-hour recalls during my coaching sessions to help clients achieve their nutrition goals. 

In the past, I've also volunteered with the Sports Nutrition department on campus!

How have you gotten involved within the wider campus outside of your major?

Outside of my major, I'm avidly involved in group fitness offered through RecWell. I've tried cycling, body combat, yoga, and barre, but my favorite and most regular class I attend is body pump! I also enjoy participating in events offered through the Smith School. Over the summer I attended the JPMorgan Chase & Co 2020 Corporate and Strategy Women's Summit which was a great opportunity to learn strategies to effectively navigate the corporate business world as a female. This April. I'll be participating in an International Business Entrepreneurship Agility Lab. 

How did you hear about these clubs and opportunities?

I learned about most of the nutrition-related experiences through Dr. U [Dr. Udahogora] sending out opportunities on the Dietetics ListServ. She's a great resource and I always keep an eye out for her emails. My general business minor listserv is always emailing out incredible opportunities as well!

Was it easy to get involved?

I would say it's entirely up to you to get involved in extracurriculars because there are always so many opportunities to get involved with. It's incredibly easy to get involved, you just have to put yourself out there!

How do you balance extracurriculars and academics?

For me, school always comes first. I dedicate a lot of time to my academics, but there are so many hours in the week leftover for other things! I personally prefer to have a really busy schedule filled with extracurriculars so one way I've learned to maintain balance is by keeping an incredibly organized schedule. Google calendar is my favorite method to stay organized and I make separate calendars for classes, assignments, extracurriculars, and general free time. 

Has your participation in these clubs/activities influenced your future career pathway?

Absolutely. I would say that the best way to discover true passions is through experience. All of the experiences I've had throughout my undergraduate life have led me to where I am today and I am incredibly grateful for all of them. In the future, I definitely want to leverage my passion for business and nutrition and hopefully combine the two into a career. 

Do you have any advice for future students on getting involved both within AGNR and also the wider campus?

The biggest piece of advice I could give is to try out every experience that comes your way. The college of Ag is always putting on events to spread awareness of the clubs offered through the college, like the meet the club events at the beginning of each semester. It's also important to branch out from your professional interests and involve yourself in personal interests as well. Go out of your comfort zone and try out new things!