Jenna Leland

Siblings inspire Jenna’s dietetic ambitions

When Jenna’s parents first told her they were adopting two kids from Democratic Republic of Congo, Jenna felt excited. She had always wanted to be a big sister, but unexpectedly, this experience would also lead Jenna to her future career.

“I want to go into clinical dietetics,” she said. “I feel it’s more straight-forward thinking. It focuses on numbers and math. Plus, there are so many different specialties. Right now, I’m considering pediatrics which is inspired by my siblings.”

When they first came to the U.S., her siblings were malnourished. It took several visits to different professionals, but eventually they became healthy again. Jenna said watching her siblings’ pediatricians and dietitians fascinated her.

“I thought it was interesting when they went into check-ups,” she said. “It was fascinating to learn how nutrition could affect their ability to learn, which I saw play out in my youngest brother.”

Jenna said she also learned about how professionals express their knowledge to their patients, a skill she plans to utilize as a future dietitian.

“I learned how important it is to clearly communicate in a way people can understand and give helpful tips as a medical professional,” she said.

Although she started college shortly after their adoption, Jenna still makes time for her family, and she said she’s very grateful her parents decided to adopt.

“It makes me want to adopt in the future,” she said. “I feel it has also helped me be more open to other countries and ethnic groups. It’s definitely made my life a lot more fun.”