“When you know, you know,” says Acacia Puddester about the moment she discovered her calling to become a registered dietitian. Acacia grew up loving the arts, sciences, and eating well, and appreciating health promotion. When she took a course in Health Psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland she was captivated by the power of food and decided to pursue a career in nutrition.
After completing Acadia University’s Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2017, Acacia was accepted into Toronto Metropolitan University’s Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication program. Although she initially had no intention of moving to Toronto, Acacia was intrigued by the program’s focus on communication and wanted to learn more about how to bring research to life through knowledge translation, so she took the plunge into city life.
Upon graduating from Toronto Met, Acacia started teaching at Acadia University, where she facilitates dietetic undergraduate students’ learning through courses such as Introduction to Communication and Sensory Evaluation of Food. Acacia credits her current teaching practices and philosophy to Toronto Met’s Graduate Professional Development in Teaching Program, which gave her the confidence and skills to teach at the university level. She’s so happy that she took advantage of this unique opportunity to gain teaching skills during her studies at Toronto Met.
Currently, Acacia is Registered Dietitian and Program Development Coordinator at Nourish Nova Scotia, a non-profit organization founded by dietitians and home economists, that is on a mission to inspire every child in Nova Scotia to eat, enjoy, and value healthy food. She works with representatives at Regional Centres for Education and school boards to support the amazing work they are doing to improve school food environments. In this role Acacia provides a wide range of services, from professional development workshops for program volunteers to infographics that help communicate nutrition information. Acacia also supports Nourish Nova Scotia’s advocacy work to engage political parties and government officials in supporting a National School Food Program. Although Acacia will soon be transitioning out of her role at Nourish, she is grateful for the invaluable experiences, and is looking forward to her next exciting adventure. In addition to working with Nourish, Acacia also provides workshops at local libraries where she develops nutrition education and cooking sessions, and connects with her community.
In the future, Acacia hopes to further her education through pursuing a PhD, and providing mentorship to students through teaching or as an practicum program coordinator. Outside of nutrition, Acacia enjoys taking in the beautiful sights of Nova Scotia, exploring her creative side through photography, and delving into her new found passion of graphic facilitation.
Aly Ramuscak, RD, MHSc (c)