Leah Brooke

Mentors help Leah find her career

Leah grew up attending Cyclone games with her family, so when it came time to decide where she wanted to spend her undergraduate years, Iowa State felt like a no-brainer.

At first she enrolled in nutritional science, but after interviewing a dietitian in her hometown of Clarinda, Iowa, Leah changed her major to dietetics a few months into her first semester.

“I like nutrition, but I wanted to work in health care,” she said. “After watching Molly Gilmore [the R.D.] I realized this is how I could combine my interests into a career.”

Leah loves her major. She spends time working at the Clarinda Regional Health Center over breaks when she’s home. She needed to shadow another professional for her class, Foundations of dietetic practice (FS HN 340). She reached out to Gilmore, but instead of shadowing the same dietitian, Leah watched one of her other bosses at the hospital.

The experience opened her eyes to the different areas available to dietitians from pediatrics to clinical care. Even though she feels she gained a lot from shadowing, she also believes working at the hospital has benefited her in numerous ways.

“I like working there,” she said. “It’s fun, and there are various positions in the kitchen and patient service. Plus, I’m learning through hands-on experience before my internship, so when that time comes, I’ll know what’s going on.”

Looking ahead, Leah doesn’t know where she wants to work, but she does know she wants to be in a clinical setting and maybe look into more schooling.

“I’ve always wanted to get my master’s,” she said. “Being a dietitian you are thee person who knows the most about nutrition, but my mentors have told me going to graduate school will help me be more marketable, so intend to do that.”