Research Spotlight

research spotlight nutrinews

Everyone, I would like to introduce you to Trevor Kennedy. Trevor recently graduated from UNF in April of this year with his bachelors in Nutrition and Dietetics. There’s some hope, to start out with, for us in the department, we can do it!

Trevor decided upon majoring in this field because he has always wanted to work in a profession that will help people and knows that dietetics gives you a great platform to do just that. Nutrition and dietetics is an effective way to facilitate great changes in the lives of many people.  Trevor said, “I got involved in research because it is the basis for our whole profession. As dietitians, we do everything according to the evidence. One day I would love to be the person contributing that evidence to the field.”

He first got involved in research when Dr. Arikawa approached him with an opportunity to design an experiment and from that experiment, apply for a grant. Along with Dr. Arikawa, Trevor formulated an experiment and submitted the grant proposal. He described his experience in research as “awesome”. It wasn’t smooth sailing at first, having to order multiple new pieces of equipment to successfully conduct his research experiment, but still believes despite setbacks and time spent modifying the methods of research, it is all worth it. The results, not whether if they were what he expected or didn’t expect, but seeing all the hard work translated into something is the most rewarding aspect of being involved in research for Trevor.

During his time in the department as a student here at UNF, Trevor was involved in multiple research studies. One of the research studies he immersed himself in was the comparison of the amount of lycopene in organic vs. conventionally grown tomatoes. Trevor also was actively involved in Dwayne Swinton’s research, in which Dwayne conducted experiments comparing the beta-carotene levels in organic vs. conventionally grown tomatoes.

Trevor’s future goals include working in the food service management sector of dietetics at first. After some time working in this section of the field he plans on getting his Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics and dedicating himself to clinical research, maybe even ending up as a professor.  In July, Trevor will be moving to Sarasota, FL to start a dietetic internship for which he was selected.  He credits his selection for these highly desired and competitive internships from his experience in conducting research. During his interviews, he was asked many questions regarding his research, and the company employees were very interested in his knowledge and experiences from designing and conducting experiments.

                  For any students interested in pursuing research, Trevor gave me some words of wisdom to pass on to everyone. He advices everyone to check out the center for undergraduate research. He says Kelsey Eagen is “wonderful and is extremely helpful”. Trevor also recommends speaking with your professors like he did with Dr. Arikawa, who is always looking for new research opportunities. Last but certainly not least, his final advice to students considering conducting research, is to make sure you have the time. He said it can very tedious. Despite certain aspects of research being a little more time consuming than others, getting involved in research is worth it! Don’t shy away from it.

If you would like to be a part of the future of nutritional science like Trevor, definitely check out the Nutrition Journal Club for current research being conducted and the latest findings. This is also a great avenue to get involved yourself! We are the future of the nutritional science field and research is a sure way to advance our knowledge and depth of understanding as much as possible. Grab a fork and dive on in!

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