Haylee Dussault had a lot to celebrate on her 25th birthday. It was also the day she graduated from the Master of Public Health Dietetics program.
“I feel so lucky to have been a part of the first class of students in the dietetics program,” Dussault says. “I’ve been given the opportunity not just to make valuable connections in the dietetics industry, but also to focus on making a real impact on school food service.”
During her internship as student nutrition coordinator for the Waltham public schools, she taught young students about where their food comes from through gardening workshops and classroom instruction.
“I feel like if you don’t know where your food is coming from or how to properly prepare it, you won’t be able to help others learn to eat healthy. It really starts with the dietician,” she says.
This internship led to Dussault’s dream job.
Shortly after graduation, she passed the registered dietitian exam and landed a position as food service operations supervisor for the Waltham schools.
Dussault’s career path wasn’t a straight shot. She started at UML as a nursing major.
“During my second year in the nursing program, I took a human nutrition course, and that’s when I found my real passion,” she says.
She switched her major to nutritional science the following year. She loved the program, but it was hard work.
“It was a difficult transition from undergraduate to graduate, but I excelled at my internships and working on a team. I really do enjoy hands-on work,” she says. “You get to see what’s going on in the field of dietetics. That’s why I loved this program.”
Dussault was no stranger to food service, having worked in a butcher shop since her freshman year, but in the graduate program, she saw another side of diet and nutrition.
It was during an internship with Aramark, a provider of UML’s food services, that she learned the kitchen, budgeting, marketing and menu planning skills required for feeding thousands of people in a school environment.
“Food service has really become my passion in the world of dietetics, and I see that passion leading me towards becoming a food service director,” she says. “It might be difficult work, but I’ve never found any other work more rewarding than what I get to do.”