Nutritional sciences instructor recognized as ‘Young Dietitian of the Year’

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Shawnee Kelly, instructor and academic adviser in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, is the recipient of the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award for 2015-16 through the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (PAND). The award will be presented at PAND’s annual meeting in April.

The award is presented to members of PAND who are under 35 and have demonstrated leadership qualities in public relations, research, community outreach, management, legislation, education, and other areas related to the profession, on the job and in the community.

“In recent years I've taken on leadership roles in professional organizations,” Kelly said. “These experiences have been extremely rewarding, have helped me grow as a professional and leader, and have amplified my love for the profession of nutrition and dietetics. I am humbled and honored to be recognized and selected for this award, especially considering all of the amazing registered dietitians who I know across the state. It's very exciting.”

Kelly is president of the Central Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and is president-elect of Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“My work in these roles is volunteer, but I really enjoy getting to know other registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) across the state, and contributing to our group cause of continuing to improve our profession and the visibility of RDNs,” Kelly said.

The recognition helps highlight the importance of making connections in the field, Kelly said. One of her main messages to students is to serve the professional associations that support them, both today and as they enter the workforce.

“It is such a great means of networking to meet others in the profession and for job-seeking,” Kelly said. “I express to the students that having a community of RDNs around them will make them stronger professionals and practitioners. Getting involved in professional groups also helps to develop a deeper understanding of the profession and build leadership skills.”

Kelly received her bachelor of science degree in dietetics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2004. She completed her dietetic internship at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2005, and received her master of science degree in food and nutrition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2005.

The PAND, an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the advocate of the dietetics profession serving the public through the promotion of optimal nutrition, health and wellbeing. The organization consists of nearly 3,700 members throughout Pennsylvania. For more information, visit

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Last Updated April 07, 2016