CEHHS Honors 15 Students During Second Annual Dietetic Internship White Coat Ceremony

Melissa Powell

students at FSU white coat ceremony

Graduate students in Florida State University’s Dietetic Internship and Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway were honored with white coats in front of family, friends, faculty, staff, alumni, and preceptors on Friday, April 26, at the Claude Pepper Center’s Broad Auditorium. Fifteen students donned their coats for the first time, symbolizing their entry into the field of dietetics, the beginning of clinical rotations, and direct care of clients and patients.

Each student was called onstage individually by Lisa Griffiths, chair of the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Food Sciences, and was then coated by Dietetic Internship Program Director Lisa Trone.

Each student honored at the White Coat Ceremony has completed the necessary coursework to prepare them for clinical rotations as they embark on the final year of their program. The Dietetic Internship requires a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice in clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and food service systems management. Rotations are completed in various facilities, including hospitals, schools, and public health settings.

Dietetic interns are pursuing master’s degrees in either exercise physiology (with a sports nutrition major) or nutrition and food science. Successful completion of the internship is a prerequisite for students aiming to take the exam for the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential with the Commission for Dietetics Registration.

Damon Andrew, dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, delivered opening remarks at the ceremony. He reminded students of the values the white coat symbolizes, including integrity, compassion, and excellence.

“Today, as you don your white coats, you are not only celebrating your commitment to the profession of dietetics, but you are accepting the responsibilities of being a health professional. The white coat is one of the most recognizable symbols of patient care, scientific rigor, humanity, and compassion,” Andrew said. “You are becoming ambassadors of health, advocates for nutrition, and role models for healthy living.

The ceremony also featured guest speaker Hannah Barnes. Barnes, an alumna of FSU’s dietetic internship, received her bachelor’s in dietetics and master’s in nutrition and food science at Florida State. She currently serves as the public health and nutrition program director for the Leon County WIC Program.

Barnes reminded students to practice empathy and compassion. “Remember that you’re not just addressing diagnoses and deficiencies; you’re interacting with people—people with stories, anxieties, and unique relationships with food,” she said. “Your success will hinge on your ability to meet people where they are, to listen to them, understand them, and tailor your approach.”

Barnes encouraged the aspiring dietitians to embrace curiosity, seek out connections and collaborations within their healthcare teams, and embrace lifelong learning in their journey toward a fulfilling career.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, five students were recognized with scholarships for their outstanding service, leadership, perseverance, and excellence.

  • Shine Brighter Perseverance Award: Alexis Breitfelder and Brinya Kydd
  • Golden Apple Service Award: Sabrina Weissman and Isabella Escobar
  • Director’s Leadership Award: Kate Castor

The ceremony was the second annual celebration of dietetic interns at the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. For more information about FSU’s Dietetic Internship and Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway, visit cehhs.fsu.edu/dietetic-internship. View the full album of photos here.