A career in nutrition offers lots of different opportunities. We speak to Dr Susie Jennings (RNutr), about her career spanning education, research, public health and communication for charities, the government and the NHS.
What sparked your interest in Nutrition?
I’ve always had a fascination with science, especially how the body works. For a time I thought I wanted to go to medical school, but after working as a healthcare assistant in a hospital for a year I developed a strong interest in preventing diseases rather than curing them.
After my degree Biological Sciences I completed a PhD Molecular Nutrition. It took a lot of hard work and dedication but it was a great experience to be surrounded by people who shared my passion, collaborate with researchers from around the world, and learn about all kinds of research.
What does your current job involve?
I’m currently a Senior Lecturer and Unit Leader for the Nutrition with Professional Practice degree. This involves developing teaching materials, teaching and assessing students and keeping up to date with the latest developments in nutrition by attending events and being an active part of the nutrition professionals’ community.
I’m part of the Research Ethics Committee at the UCO, so I provide students and staff with guidance on how to conduct good quality research, and make sure that research at the university meets all of the required legal and ethical standards.
I also co-chair the disability representation group at the UCO, which gives me the opportunity to help the university to support students and staff with disabilities and find solutions to issues that could put people with disabilities at a disadvantage.
What other areas of nutrition have you worked in?
One of the great things about a career in nutrition is that there are so many fields you can work in and different roles you can do. I’ve worked as a researcher investigating how nutrition can help to prevent heart disease and cancer, which involved growing human cells in the lab and doing experiments on them.
I also very much enjoyed working for two health charities where I did TV, radio and newspaper interviews about health topics that were in the news and wrote briefings for MPs to keep them up to date. Another part of my role was to make sure all of the information the charities put on their websites and gave to doctors and patients was correct and up to date.
Many nutritionists work for food companies and restaurants to help them improve the health benefits or taste of their products or make them more sustainable. Other nutritionists work with people who want to get fitter or sports teams to advise on diet. New developments are being made in nutrition all the time so it’s a varied and exciting field to work in.