It’s no secret that parents often influence their children to choose a particular career path. Depending on the parents in question, they may achieve this by using their powers of suggestion, persuasion, or something much more simple, like bribery. Vickie Chan, a 2011 California State University, Los Angeles graduate with an MS in Nutritional Science, was inspired by her father to choose her career path, but not in the way you might think. She shares her story and how she found her position as Adjunct Professor at Long Beach City College with the help of AfterCollege.
Which resources did you use in your job search? How did you find your current position?
I like to go to a few websites to find jobs, including indeed.com, simplyhired.com, and eatright.org (since I am a Registered Dietitian, I like to check my professional association website for classified offers). I also like to search for jobs through other websites via newsletters in my email box, like the ones I received from AfterCollege. I recently got hired to be a lecturer for Long Beach City College and I found this job posting through an email from AfterCollege about an available job that might be of interest to me.
[Editor’s note: If you’d like to get these email alerts from AfterCollege, it’s easy! Just stop by AfterCollege and enter your college, major, and expected graduation date. We’ll use that information to send you job customized suggestions. If you’re already signed up on AfterCollege and you haven’t been receiving the emails, you can change your settings by checking the “Email Notifications” box in the “Manage Communications” menu, which you’ll find when you hover over “My Profile” on the top right of the page.]
How long did your job search take?
To be honest, I was not actively job searching as I am currently working as a lecturer at a university and also at a county hospital. But I did jump at applying for Long Beach City College because I am looking to build my résumé by teaching at more than one college. The other reason why I applied for this position was that I actually took a few classes at Long Beach City College, so I know the dietetic program very well (I will be working in the dietetics/nutritional science department).
How did you become interested in your field?
I originally earned my Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication. After I graduated from college, I worked in the communication field but never felt passionate about my job. Then around August 2006, my father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and coincidentally, the local community college (Long Beach City College) was offering a course about diabetes, so I decided to take it. I also decided to take a sports nutrition class as well since I was becoming very interested in that field because I was very physically active and realized how much nutrition can affect the human body. When I took these two classes, a light bulb went off in my head. I felt like the dietetic field was the direction I should go into because I just felt so much passion and excitement the more I learned. But I would have to say that primarily my father was the one who inspired me to go into the dietetic field.
Once I learned that there was such a job as a Registered Dietitian, I decided to go back to school and become one. I earned my Master of Science degree and also completed my dietetic internship at California State University, Los Angeles.
What are you most looking forward to about your new job?
I am excited to meet the new crop of students that I will be teaching. Since I teach at a university right now, I am interested to see if community college students work differently or act differently than those at a university. I am also excited to teach different subjects from the ones I currently teach. As a professor and a healthcare provider, I am trying to build a strong confidence in what I do and continue to better improve the way I share nutritional information to everyone.
What advice would you give to college students who are interested in pursuing a career in your field?
If you are truly interested in going into teaching and/or the dietetic field, I highly recommend gaining work experience in the field to make sure this is the field you would like to go into. Also with work experience (paid or volunteer), it helps you become much more competitive when applying for internships, graduate programs, and so on. I also highly recommend that you learn to network early on in your academic career because networking is very powerful and can help you find a job or lead you to the right person who may help you further in your life. Also, it is very important to know that not only is it good to network up, but also down and among your own peers because you never know who can help you later on in your career path.
Congratulations, Vickie! Thanks for sharing your story and best of luck in your new position!
Have your parents influenced your career path? If so, how? Let us know in the comments!