Meet Olivia! Another one of my amazing, friends, co-interns and very soon to be RD who is sure to make you laugh at least once in this interview. Surfacing from our side-by-side library hours studying for the RD exam to share a little about her, how she got into nutrition, her love of all things Penn State and what she hopes to do next! She plans to eventually work in wellness tourism, where her balanced and positive approach (and ability to ~do it all~) will no doubt change the way we think about health. In the meantime, here’s Liv!
SO let’s start off with introductions, tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Olivia Morgan and I am currently a MGH dietetic intern soon-to-be RD (with the fab @thewellful). I am originally from Chocolate-town USA aka Hershey, PA. I graduated from Penn State in 2017 and majored in Nutrition and Hospitality Management and minored in French. If that doesn’t sound insane enough I also graduated with honors in Hospitality Management and conducted my own research on wellness tourism (a new and emerging field that I hope to get into some day!!). All of my co-interns can also tell you that I am CRAZY for Penn State. In college I was very active as a dancer and leader in my dance group and have been dancing my whole life. Additionally, at Penn State we do a Dance Marathon (aka THON) which is a 46-hour no sleeping, no sitting event benefiting the Four Diamonds Fund which supports pediatric cancer research and treatments at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. I was lucky enough to be nominated to dance in this amazing event in 2017 and successfully completed the 46 hour event (and then successfully slept for 18 hours after the fact). I am also a big fan of running (my favorite kind of me time) and have run 2 half marathons (can I count that as 1 whole marathon??). Basically, what this all comes together to mean is that I have a passion for helping people, for food, and for joyful/ fun/ empowering movement!
How did you get started? How’d you get the into nutrition?
I got started in nutrition in high school. I have always loved food and cooking even as a kid making pretend restaurants for my dolls. But, when I was in high school I was very sick for over a year until I was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This essentially means that my body was responding to gluten in the same way a person with celiac disease would respond. When I eliminated gluten from my diet, I felt like a whole new person. I was immediately fascinated that food could have such a power over our bodies, and knew I needed to pursue this more in my future.
In your internship, you experience a lot of different rotations, what’s been your favorite so far? What’s been the most impactful so far for you?
I think I have really tried to make the most out of all of my rotations and have liked aspects of all of them! I know that my first clinical rotation in medicine made the biggest impact on me and really taught me more than I ever thought I could learn in 5 weeks!
You used to dance and you were a double major! How do these experience play into your current and future career as an RD?
Basically this just means I’m kind of nuts and can’t really sit still for too long. I think that being a dancer you really gain a lot of respect and appreciation for you body, but at the same time there is a lot of body-image challenges that come with this. There is a lot of comparing yourself to other dancers and their bodies which can be really tough. When I was in college I was in an all inclusive dance organization- we accepted all dancers no matter their level of experience. It ended up bringing together a widely diverse group, but what was amazing is that we all shared a passion for dance and that helped to bring us together and made the group so much more fun. As far as my double major, I really use components of each major in this internship, and I see that continuing into my future.
When someone finds out you study nutrition and are going to be an RD, what’s the most common question you get asked and how do you answer it?
I get a lot of questions about my thoughts on popular diets and it can be anything from ketogenic diet to intermittent fasting. I generally share my thoughts on diets as a whole and will try to touch on any of the research on the particular diet especially if I have read up on it previously. It’s insane how many “diets” there are out there and how many people buy into them. I’ve even had doctors ask me if they should be going keto to lose weight- like how crazy is that?
What’s been the biggest learning curve you had of the internship?
I think the biggest thing for me was learning my place- not necessarily in a bad way- but just understanding how to manage being a student while also developing confidence and rapport with my preceptors, patients, and other hospital staff.
As an RD what do you hope someone takes away after hearing you speak about nutrition or having a session with you?
I want people to feel comfortable, and feel like they are able to speak honestly with someone who understands their struggles with nutrition. I also really hope they take away (with time) more of an intuitive eating mentality because I think that everyone could benefit from that!
What’s your dream job?
One where I am happy and valued. I think I have too many things that I find interesting, and I am really struggling to pinpoint one specific “dream” job. But, I know that I will know it when I find it.
What’s something you wish you learned in school?
Practical application to real life things not only with nutrition but also what a mortgage is/ how to do taxes etc. Why did I spend so much time in chemistry but I still don’t fully understand what a 401k is?
Take us through a typical (or not-so-typical) day!
If I don’t have to be at the internship until after 8am I will usually work out in the morning (usually a 3 mile run and some weights at my gym!). I live by a great path in Somerville and really enjoy running on it whenever I can. I also have to start my day out with coffee and breakfast- I cannot fathom ever skipping breakfast- and I almost always have some yogurt with fruit and homemade granola (I never follow a recipe so it’s different every time I make it, both a pro and a con). Then off to the internship where I get to see all my fave intern ladies almost every day (thank goodness because we can barely go 1 day without talking). Heading home from the internship you can usually catch me jamming to one of my playlists (self-made obvi, I have a low key DJ talent). At home, I have this horrible habit of not sitting down for more than 5 minutes and am always finding something to do. Then I’m making a delish dinner for myself, but I always save room for dessert- I have a HUGE sweet tooth, I mean I am from Hershey so that is expected. Usually my roommate and I watch one of our shows together. Sadly I am a 20-something grandma and usually am in bed by 9:30-10pm either playing sudoku or reading Intuitive Eating (for the 3rd time- yes I have issues).
What’s your biggest goal as of now? (personal or career-related)
My biggest goal is to finish the internship with a positive mindset! It’s been a long year, but I know I need to take advantage of these last few weeks.
What’s something you’re currently obsessed with? (people, things, products, habits, places - can be anything!)
The Handmaids tale
Anna Faris’s Unqualified podcast
Everybody fights classes (my wallet is not thanking me)
Making the most of the last 8 weeks I have with my intern pals (Wellful Note: We did!)
What does “health” mean to you?
Health to me means living a balanced life in all aspects- this includes a life where you can enjoy a cookie when you want it, but also can enjoy some roasted vegetables as well. Health is different for every person, but balance is so important especially in such a non-balanced and chaotic world we live in.
How do you see (or hope to see) our perception of health and nutrition changing in the near future?
I really hope to see nutrition move into a direction that incorporates more of the intuitive eating principles because I truly think thats the most sustainable and beneficial perspective to have. I think that there are a lot of people working to move nutrition in that direction, and I think that each provider can have an impact on this as well.
How can readers keep up with you? Social handles and platforms!
@oliveyou31 (on instagram) catch some witty/fire captions comin at ya