Undergraduate Internships in Food and Nutrition

  • Frequently Asked Questions  

    What is an undergraduate internship?Kaitlin MIhelcic provided nutrition education and guidance to clients at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank

    IUP has a unique way to earn credits, while also gaining professional experience. FDNT 493, Internship, provides this opportunity.

    Do I have to do an undergraduate internship?

    Internship credits count towards “elective” credits in the Dietetic Track curriculum. A three-credit internship is required in the Nutrition Track.

    What are the requirements to do an undergraduate internship?

    A student must have earned at least 57 credits and have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Their experience and measurable objectives must be approved by the faculty member that is the coordinator of the FDNT 493 for the term that the internship is completed. A student must work a minimum of 40 hours for each credit and must submit two objectives for each credit. Students must complete the documentation or projects that are included in the objectives.

    An important aspect of obtaining an internship is that IUP must have an agreement with the internship site. Once the student and faculty adviser have agreed with a site representative that the student can obtain professional experience, the faculty member will work with the Dean’s Office to have the agreement signed. Without a signed agreement, students may not go to the internship site under a credit-bearing relationship with IUP. Because of the time that it takes to have a contract signed, following the deadlines are crucial. For more information, visit the College of Health and Human Service Internship page.

    How much does an internship cost?

    If students live 25 or more miles from campus while doing their internship, they can apply to have the health fee and activity fee waived. Learn more about tuition costs. Depending on the internship site, immunizations or malpractice insurance might be required; student interns are responsible for these costs.

    What are the advantages of doing an undergraduate internship? Kay Stivason volunteered at the Kellyn Foundation, a non-profit that promotes wellness through nutrition programs

    • Assistance of department faculty member is securing a site
    • Recommendations for specific and personalized objectives
    • Professional and career-building opportunities
    • Interaction with department faculty member during internship
    • Formal evaluation by site supervisor appropriate for portfolio
    • Statement of “Internship” on resume
    • Credits towards Bachelor of Science degree

    How many credits would I take?

    IUP does not allow more than 12 credits to count toward an undergraduate degree. Students in the Department of Food and Nutrition usually enroll for a three-credit internship.

    Can I get experience without paying tuition?

    Absolutely! But you will not earn academic credit. Many students make their own contacts and have wonderful experiences. We recommend the following steps:

      Kendra Keuper received professional experience working at Punxsutawney Area Hospital
    1. Decide on the type(s) of experience that you would like to have and see your adviser.
    2. Obtain the name, title, address, phone, and e-mail information for the appropriate contact person at the agency or facility. This person should be the person that will approve and support your work. This is probably the dietitian or manager that is the head of the department at the hospital or nursing home or the nutritionist of a community agency. This contact should be a professional contact, not the friend of a friend or some personal contact that you think can help you. Use the phone book and call facilities to identify these people.
    3. Write a business letter to this professional. The Writing Center can help you construct a business letter if you need help.
    4. Follow up with professional contacts and in-person meetings if possible.
    5. Make a plan of your activities and have it approved by your supervisor. Keep a record of your activities, interactions, and projects. Keep samples and take pictures for your portfolio. Act as if you are an employee of the agency or facility.
    6. Develop an evaluation form for yourself and have it approved by your supervisor. Work to achieve high scores on this evaluation. Ask your supervisor if you can use them as a reference for a job or dietetic internship application when you are finished.

    Have fun, and celebrate learning!

    Offer to speak to younger students; offer your digital pictures to the department to feature you and your project on the department website. Help us help other students!

    What should I do to get more information about undergraduate internships?Andrea Marshall provided nutrition education and counseling to WIC clients

    Each semester there is one faculty member that helps students arrange undergraduate internships. This person can be identified by asking in the department office. 

    What were some past internships like?


  • WIC Objectives
    Objectives Outcomes
    Perform nutrition assessments on WIC participants. Keep a computer-written log of the number and type of clients seen and their nutrition problems submitted to IUP coordinator.
    Identify appropriate handouts and personalize the information to the participants. Add description to computer-written log above.
    Design and display bulletin board about breastfeeding. Site supervisor to evaluate intern’s competence on evaluation form.
    Discuss food frequency records and provide appropriate educational strategies related to the food guide pyramid. Site supervisor to evaluation intern’s competence on evaluation form.
    Determine WIC eligibility and complete the appropriate documents Site supervisor to evaluate competence on evaluation form.
    Participate in office activities by (1) making referrals as appropriate, (2) answering nutrition questions over the phone, (3) scheduling appointments, and (4) adding new participants into the computer system. Supervisor to evaluate competence on evaluation form.
    Write food package prescriptions based on WIC specifications and special needs. Supervisor to evaluate based on IUP evaluation form.
    Present activities for IUP students. Design a PowerPoint presentation.

  • Management Objectives
    Activities Outcomes
    Participate in preparing and delivering meals to patients by following standardized recipes, using proper technique and timing, carrying out preparation and sanitation procedures correctly, and using management skills.   Study and pass a quiz about different diets that patients receive.
    Participate in purchasing and inventory control processes and also be able to describe the procedures correctly. Update and/or provide an inservice as assigned by the site supervisor.
    Describe the application of HAACP in Conemaugh’s quantity food production facility. Demonstrate the use of three pieces of quantity food production equipment correctly and understand preparation and sanitation procedures

    Keep a log of documented progress

    Tracking three menu items from purchase to preparation to service 

    Report to IUP supervisor on the application of HAACP  and describe to IUP undergraduate students

    Receive a positive evaluation from the site supervisor.

    Prepare a presentation that will be given to undergraduate IUP students to describe the experience


  • Clinical Objectives
    Objective Outcome

    Practice the nutrition care process:

    • Interview patients and read the medical record.
    • Perform a nutrition assessment on a minimum of four patients with different pathologies. 
    • Document in the medical record using the style of the institution.
    • Evaluate care plans of patients that were assessed. 
    Oral discussion with RD preceptor and positive ratings on the evaluation form.

    Recommend and calculate table feedings as  possible

    Oral discussion and positive ratings on evaluation form.

    Assist patients in choosing meals according to their meal plans

    Documentation from RD