Member Spotlight - Veruska Gonzalez

 

Veruska Gonzalez

 

 

 

Tell us about your job.

I currently work as a nutrition educator for WIC. I educate low income families on how to create healthy meals while using the food benefits provided by WIC. My audience is mostly pregnant moms or the moms of children under 5 years old. Some of the most important topics we touch on are breastfeeding, grocery shopping on a budget, picky eaters and healthy snacks for kids. I am also working on getting a master’s in nutrition and dietetics from the University of North Florida and studying for the RD exam.

 

What do you find most interesting about your job?

I enjoy how being a nutrition educator for the community is more than just helping people eat healthier. In community nutrition, your role is also to be the hub for information. Many clients are facing difficult times, or their mindset is one of “survival.” For example, I cannot educate clients on how to build healthier meals if access to food is an issue. In such cases, our role is to help connect our clients with the resources they need to fulfill basic needs.

 

How did you get into this field?

I initially sought an undergrad degree in psychology but found that while I loved its concepts, I was not passionate about the field. A year before graduating, I transferred into FIU’s nutrition and dietetics program. At the time I was experiencing my own set of health issues and nutrition became the solution. After that, I became curious of how nutrition affects the body and the importance of balance within one’s lifestyle. Eventually, I would like to create community nutrition programs for low income communities.

 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Venezuela and arrived in the US when I was 8 years old. I have lived in South Florida since then.

 

Where did you go to college and/or complete an internship?

I attended Florida International University for my undergrad. Currently I am completing a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics through the University of Florida.

 

Besides your profession, what are your hobbies?

I love traveling and discovering new cuisines. Some of my favorite places to visit are Peru, Portugal and Ireland. Aside from traveling, in my free time I enjoy going to yoga classes and running.

 

What are your favorite foods?

I love tacos and pizza! One of my favorite dishes is called “tallarines verdes.” It is a Peruvian pasta dish made with their version of pesto sauce.

 

What is on your bucket list?

Visit the 7 wonders of the world, an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, and visit 40 countries by age 35. So far, I have traveled to 13 countries.

 

How long have you been a member of NEP DPG? And why did you join?

This is my second year as a member of NEP DPG but my first year serving on the board. I decided to join because I wanted to find new ways to educate my community about nutrition. I have also found the group to be a great way to network with other professionals in the field of dietetics, especially as I am at the beginning of my career.