Silena Barton is part of the 2017-2018 Dietetic Internship class at UC Davis Medical Center. Silena is from Lancaster in Los Angeles County. She completed a Master of Science in Nutrition Science from California State University, Chico as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Sciences and Minors in Chemistry and Criminal Justice from the same institution. During her graduate studies Silena investigated the role of zinc supplementation and zinc depletion in liver cells for the purpose of biomarker identification; her research resulted in several posters for the Experimental Biology Conference in 2016 and 2017. Prior to the dietetic internship, Silena also interned at the Chico WIC Center and advocated for the senior meals program in the CSU Chico Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion. Thank you for sharing your insights, Silena!
Interviewer: Why did you choose the UC Davis Medical Center Dietetic Internship?
Silena: I chose to apply to this program for several reasons. I knew I wanted to complete my internship in a clinically focused program. Because UCDMC is also a teaching hospital, I felt as though it would provide a thriving learning environment, and the best place to gain clinical skills. Given that one of my professional goals is to work in pediatric clinical nutrition, I was also drawn to the fact that we have a pediatric acute care rotation. Additionally, I was attracted to the location. Because we are located near the capital, I was excited about the prospect of learning more about shaping nutrition-related public policy.
Interviewer: What is the greatest lesson you have learned so far during this internship?
Silena: What I have come to realize as a Dietetic Intern, is that our strongest asset is adaptability. This year is comprised of rapid learning experiences and it is important to keep up, go with the flow, and trust that the year will provide many amazing opportunities, for both personal and professional growth. One of the most fascinating aspects of the nutrition field is that it is always growing and changing; being able to adapt alongside it is an important part of the process.
Interviewer: What have you found to be your greatest challenge?
Silena: Thus far, the greatest challenge has been working with our complex patient population, and devising the best possible nutrition care plans. Every day is a new challenge, and you never fail to learn something new.
Interviewer: What has been your greatest accomplishment during your internship year?
Silena: My greatest accomplishment has been looking back on my first clinical rotation and realizing the amount of information I have learned, and experiences I have obtained. I am becoming increasingly confident in providing nutrition recommendations for complex patients with a variety of disease states. Being able to work independently and with confidence has been an amazing accomplishment.
Interviewer: Prior to starting your dietetic internship what were your career goals and have they changed while going through the internship?
Silena: Prior to starting at UCDMC, my career goals were to work in pediatric/maternal dietetics after the internship, while obtaining my Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology or Clinical Nutrition. While I am beginning to develop an interest in many different aspects of clinical dietetics and patient care, my career goals thus far, have not changed.
Interviewer: If you could give any piece of advice to future interns, what would it be?
Silena: My advice to future interns is to trust that what you have learned in college has prepared you for entering a Dietetic Internship. If you have doubts on whether you want to apply, do it! Becoming an expert in our field is an exciting place to be. Be prepared to work long hours and step outside of your comfort zone. I would also recommend becoming friends with your fellow interns. You are all in this together and being able to rely on one another is immensely important.