Purdue University dining and culinary internship has nothing on Hope Nixon
Hope Nixon ’22, a nutrition and dietetics major from Johnstown, Ohio, spent 10 weeks with Purdue University’s Department of Nutrition Science this summer. The highly competitive internship focused on hospitality and nutrition and is routinely awarded to Bluffton students. After hearing about the internship during her first year at Bluffton, Nixon focused her efforts on being selected.
“The program was very much hit the ground running,” said Nixon. ”We did everything from coming up with new ideas for catering events to central production. It was very much, ‘alright let’s get going!’”
One of the most memorable experiences was preparing meals for up to 500 people. When spoons large enough to mix coleslaw could not be found, Nixon improvised by having her hands and arms wrapped in plastic wrap before digging in.
The internship typically includes travel out of state to other universities such as Ohio State, Michigan State and Kansas State. However, due to COVID-19, internship participants toured out-of-state locations virtually while visiting Indiana locations in-person.
“It was a lot of fun because we got to actually see the difference instead of just
hearing the difference,” said Nixon, of visiting Ball State University. “It’s always
nice to get a fresh perspective. Every school has a different way of doing things.”
While the internship provided Nixon a large-college experience, she’s grateful for the environment at Bluffton.
“I love being challenged, but I also love to be encouraged,” said Nixon. “I know I would not have been able to get through this major if I had gone to a bigger school.”
With the experience gained from this undergraduate internship, Nixon is looking forward to applying to post-secondary internship programs to gain additional experience before for the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) licensure examination.
“Hope is a great addition to our department and a hard worker,” said Jeanna Haggard, assistant professor of food and nutrition. “We encouraged Hope to apply for this internship so she could benefit from the experience. Speaking with her, I think this really helped her academic confidence.”
Nixon’s goal as an RDN is to work with athletes. On campus, she’s a member of Bluffton’s cross country and track and field teams. She is also a member of the Bluffton University Nutrition Association (BUNA).