As the self-proclaimed “world’s pickiest eater”, Chanel Villanueva took family and friends by surprise when she announced that she was going to school to pursue her goal of becoming a registered dietician.
“I’ve always been such a picky eater,” admits Villanueva. “It’s surprising even to me that I want to work with and study food.”
Despite her own personal preferences, Villanueva has decided that this a perfectly suited field for her.
“I want to become a dietician because it’s just so different from other occupations, and on the plus side it’s really interesting,” said Villanueva, 22, junior. “I’ve always known that I wanted to help people in whatever profession I chose to follow, and helping people with their nutrition is one way that I can be of service.”
Villanueva, Family and Consumer Sciences major with a focus on nutrition and dietetics, explains that she has extensively studied the digestive system while at CSUN, has a special interest in medical nutrition therapy.
“It’s fascinating to study how nutrition can be used to alleviate diseases,” said Villanueva. “I feel like I’m helping people in a more holistic way so that they can rely on natural ingredients to boost their health rather than medications.”
Currently, Villanueva is working at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, and says that she loves incorporating food into helping people.
“Right now I’m a diet aide,” said Villanueva. “Basically I overlook the tray line, which is an assembly line of trays where we assemble breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for the patients. I also correct menus according to the patient’s specific diet plan. In addition, I work closely and collaborate with nurses for the patients’ diet changes and updates on their menu allowances.”
In addition, Villanueva explains that her favorite part of her job is interacting with the various patients, and helping to make their hospital stay more enjoyable.
“It’s all about customer satisfaction,” said Villanueva. “No one likes being in the hospital, but food may be just that one comfort aspect for them. I try my best to meet their preferences, but it’s hard sometimes. I would love to grant their every food request, but I explain to them that their diet restrictions are placed for a reason. Most of them understand.”
Upon graduation, Villanueva is hoping to find a dietetic internship to help her gain experience.
“I’m crossing my fingers for an internship,” chuckles Villanueva. “It would be ideal for me to find an internship while I’m studying for the CDR (Commission on Dietetic Registration). Then ultimately, I would love to become a registered dietician in a clinical setting, specifically for a hospital or out patient facility.”
However, for now Villanueva is happy with her current job, passionate about school, and looking forward to the future.
“I’m loving where I’m at in my life right now,” said Villanueva. “School is great and I love my job because it’s given me the experience and opportunities within the dietetic field that is ultimately going to help me with my future.”