A stronger future through better nutrition

How the Dietetics program is helping Lucy transform her community

A stronger future through better nutrition
CategoryStudent
NameLucy Hoang
FromVancouver, BC
ProgramBSc in Food, Nutrition, and Health (major in Dietetics)

Lucy chose Dietetics because she wanted to make a difference to people’s health.

Lucy started her time at UBC in the Science Faculty, before realizing that a degree in the Land and Food Systems Faculty better matched her goals. As well as working on ways to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes through studying the Western diet, she found that she was able to learn about social justice issues, psychology, anthropology, and more as part of her program. Currently the president of Nutrikids – a volunteer-run organization that delivers workshops on nutrition to elementary schools – she’s also excelling in her degree, enjoying classes that have taken her on field trips to help people on Galiano Island as well as those in the Vancouver community.

 

What was your journey to UBC from high school?

I always grew up knowing that I wanted to stay close to my family. My parents came from Vietnam and most of their family are still there, so I didn’t want to leave them behind in a new country. With this sense of responsibility, I knew I wanted to stay in Vancouver. In elementary and high school I heard about UBC being a prestigious school, and I really never expected to end up here! But through a lot of support, luck, and hard work, I was able to get into my dream school and stay close to home.

 

You started off in the Science Faculty at UBC. Why did you switch to Land and Food Systems?

When I was younger, I would watch a lot of documentaries on TV about the increased rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and how the Western diet may contribute to it. I became really invested in preventative health through food, and so I thought that the only path to do this was to be a doctor. When applying to UBC, in my head it was either Arts, Science, Engineering, or Business, and nothing in between – hence why I started off in the Faculty of Science. Luckily, I took a Nutrition elective in my first year which showed me everything in Land and Food Systems, and what it means to be a dietitian – and it was exactly what I wanted to do my whole life! Once I entered the Land and Food Systems Faculty, I realized that I would not only learn about nutrition here, but also other perspectives that enrich my education such as social justice issues, psychology, anthropology, and more.

 

You’re studying the Dietetics program. What attracted you to that in particular?

Fun fact – UBC is the only school in British Columbia that allows you to be a Registered Dietitian! This is a big reason why I chose UBC for dietetics, but also the program itself has been really fulfilling for me. It has so many great classes with hands-on experiences (including hospital visits, a food service management project, food modifications for swallowing difficulties, and more). One of my favourites is Food Theory Applications. We learned about food science and why food tastes, looks, smells, and feels the way it does, and we actually cooked together and learned about the culture of food. It was such a fun course but also one that taught me a lot about why food is so important to different cultures, and how I can incorporate that in my future dietetics practice.

 

What’s the best part about your program?

The best part is the support system that I have. The dietetics major is a very small cohort (less than 40 people), so the entire group of classmates end up being really close to each other. This fosters a group of amazing friends. They’ve helped me through the difficult times of COVID-19, as well as being great people to fall back on whenever I need emotional support. Not only am I close to my classmates, but the professors and faculty members of dietetics are highly invested in our wellbeing and know us all individually. When we have feedback to give, they are receptive and empathetic.

 

Lucy Hoang Land and Food Systems Dietetics UBC Story

 

What do you think is unique about learning in the Land and Food Systems Faculty?

Many courses in the Land and Food Systems Faculty have elements of community-based learning that connect to real-world problems. This means that as part of our programs, we get hands-on experience partnering with local communities. As someone who strives to contribute and help others, it is so rewarding to be able to do this for academic credit. For example, for a course in my second year, I completed a food literacy workshop in an elementary school, focusing on the agriculture, food science, and nutrition of bread. In my third year, I was able to go to Galiano Island with my group and create nutrition labels that would be visually helpful for seniors there. Both of these are mandatory courses for Land and Food Systems students, so contributing to the community is built into our degree. There are even more courses specific to each major which allow for community contributions and connections as well! I could go on forever about this.

 

Land and Food Systems unofficially known as the “friendly Faculty” on campus. Would you agree?

The students in the Land and Food Systems Faculty are really socially aware, inclusive, and empathetic. It’s so easy to walk up to a stranger and become their friend. The staff (especially Student Services and the Learning Centre) are incredibly helpful and invested in the wellbeing and future of the students in Land and Food Systems. The Dean, Rickey Yada, is amazingly open and will stop to have a conversation with you at any time in the middle of his busy schedule. The faculty members and professors of Land and Food Systems often encourage student participation and are very receptive to feedback from students. Overall, the Faculty is a place where it’s easy to feel at home.

 

Can you talk about a particular cause or social issue that you’re passionate about which your degree is helping you to address?

I am very passionate about dismantling diet culture and body image expectations. In all areas of my extracurricular activities, I always try to incorporate some way to improve healthy eating relationships. For example, I am currently the president of Nutrikids, a volunteer-run organization (with about 100 volunteers) that delivers nutrition workshops to elementary schools across the Lower Mainland. Part of my role is to mentor UBC volunteers in using appropriate language when talking to children about food to promote positive eating relationships rather than restrictive and potentially harmful relationships. My degree has exposed to me to a lot of different research and statistics on how eating disorders disproportionately affect adolescents, as well as the health impacts of eating disorders and disordered eating. I’ve learned about how to critically evaluate a fad or marketing ploy and delve into the research to see whether they are effective or not (hint – more often than not they’re ineffective)!

 

In your opinion, what makes Land and Food Systems stand out? 

From my own experience, I know I started off really nervous about making friends, especially because I’m a commuter. However, in my experience in Land and Food Systems, it was so easy! Because all the classes are smaller, I see the same familiar faces over and over again. We also have two main buildings, and there are a lot of study and hang-out spaces where I can just sit at a random table and meet new people. There’s also a ton of free or really cheap events hosted by the Land and Food Systems undergraduate society where you can make friends easily! It’s my home away from home.

 

What would you say to prospective students who are considering applying to a Land and Food Systems degree?

Are you interested in a Bachelor of Science degree with a social focus that includes food? Do you enjoy having your current opinions and knowledge challenged? Is it important to you to contribute to your community as a part of your future? Do you learn best with hands-on and experiential learning? Are you curious about fixing social justice issues from a wide variety of different perspectives? Do you prefer smaller group interactions rather than large? If so, I would highly recommend exploring your options in the Land and Food Faculty!

 

 

Latest Stories

Previous
Jamie walking outside the Longhouse on the Vancouver campus

Inspired to become a better person

How Jamie has connected her Kinesiology degree with her Indigeneity
student

Inspired to become a better person

"When I chose to study Kinesiology at UBC, I knew I wanted to find ways I could connect my degree with my Indigeneity. Throughout my degree I have been a member of multiple committees that promote equity and diversity for Indigenous peoples, taken courses directly related to Indigenous health & wellness, and have learned from numerous Indigenous professors and mentors in Kinesiology. All of these experiences have strengthened my desire to use my degree to connect with community and advocate for Indigenous representation in health and physical activity spaces." - Jamie C., Bachelor of Kinesiology
Danielle G UBC Okanagan Geography student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

Danielle’s experiences as a Geography student UBC Okangan
student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

"As someone who is interested in the humanities and social sciences, an Arts degree at UBC was perfect for me as it allowed me to broaden my knowledge through a variety of different classes, while gaining the necessary requirements for my career goals and graduate school." - Danielle G., Geography
Sophie H. on the Okanagan campus

Exploring cultural theory and social change

UBC Okanagan Arts student Sophie on the power of a Cultural Studies degree
student

Exploring cultural theory and social change

“It is one thing to identify what is wrong with this world, but it’s another to see how people are managing to live and finding joy within it. Because this is where the changes are happening.” - Sophie H., Cultural Studies

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

How Nursing student Dresya is tackling late detection of breast cancer to improve patient outcomes.
student

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

"The program pushes me to redefine what it means to be a 'nurse' daily. There has not been a day where I have not learned something new. Whether it is delving into the pathophysiology of a disease or acquiring a new clinical skill, the learning never stops. In my experience, the program at UBC Okanagan also understands the profound importance of people in nursing. It pushed me to look beyond mastering the scientific basis of nursing, and incorporate the patient's lived experiences into the care I provide." - Dresya D., BSN

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

How Ashley made the career change from marketing to nursing, with the aim of making a positive difference within the Indigenous community.
student

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

"Once I complete my schooling, my aim is to work closely within the Indigenous population. My passion lies in patient-centered care and ensuring cultural safety, and I'm eager to make a meaningful impact in these areas." - Ashley H., Bachelor of Science in Nursing

An artist's journey to building community

How UBC Okanagan Fine Arts student Ziv fosters community among UBC's international students as an International Peer
student

An artist's journey to building community

"As an International Peer, I aim to introduce the supportive and inclusive environment UBC has for new students to thrive in. I hope to foster a sense of community and belonging among the international student population, because building connections and relationships is crucial to a positive university experience." - Ziv W., Bachelor of Fine Arts

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

Bachelor of Science student Kayree on taking part in Jump Start Vancouver, Imagine Day and Collegia
student

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

"Jump Start helped me transition into university life by introducing me to people that took the same classes as me. The orientation leaders for Jump Start also did an amazing job touring us around UBC despite it being so big. I got used to the map of campus within a week." - Kayree R., Bachelor of Science

Getting ready for university

How Academic Essentials prepared Rajalakshmi for life at UBC Vancouver
student

Getting ready for university

"[Academic Essentials] was a great way to get a taste of university life and explore different aspects of academic work. I was able to see how the same content taught to me can be approached and understood in different ways. The feedback and support from the peers and mentors in the program helped me feel more confident in what I knew, while allowing me to learn and grow." - Rajalakshmi N., Bachelor of Applied Science
next