Cory Eck

Cory Eck, Student Clinical Nutrition Program
“I just want to help other people understand they don’t have to be held back by this diagnosis, this medical condition they’ve just had thrown upon them.”

Clinical Nutrition Program 
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Getting Started

“It all really began when I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes [at age 14] … That was my initial introduction to nutrition and dealing with various dietitians and doctors. It opened up my eyes to what was out there. From there, through my own personal struggles – as well as my own personal victories – I was able to understand just how much of an impact this could have, helping somebody to manage, not just diabetes, but any medical condition.”

Career Clarity

“I moved into my undergraduate at Penn State, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in nutritional sciences. The start of my senior year, I realized I wanted to continue and do graduate work. I came to know there were various programs like the one here at UT Southwestern, where they combine the Master’s with the dietetic internship, which you have to complete to sit for your RD exam for your registered dietitian credential.”

Vast Opportunities

“Here at UT Southwestern, we’ve had a lot of different rotations, whether it’s working in the school district with kids with diabetes, working with adults in a corporate wellness program, work-site weight loss – the vast opportunities they have here at the university are endless, and it’s amazing we are able to do that. The program allows you to both learn in the classroom and then apply what you learn in the classroom directly to your rotations and whatever populations you’re dealing with … to really integrate what you’re learning and understanding what does work and how it’s going to affect your patients.”

Integration Appreciation

“They do take into consideration our interests and exactly where we want to go with our degree – with nutrition, you can work with kids, you can work with adults, you can work with people who are dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, or just a small, acute visit to the hospital for surgery or something. … This program allows us to integrate with all the different fields out there and it is a team approach. Our teachers do a nice job of bringing in other medical professionals, be it a doctor or a [physician’s assistant] to help us understand the different conditions. We get that perspective so we can understand them and better help the patient.”

First-Hand Experience

“I was diagnosed [with Type I diabetes] at 14, in the middle of high school, had no clue what was going on, and now I had to start managing this chronic condition that wasn’t going to go away. It took a lot of energy and effort, and that’s how I can relate to these kids. I could share some of my experiences with what they were experiencing. I had a lot of success with them.”

The Last Word

I was greatly helped out by dietitians and doctors who helped me initially manage my condition. …  [N]ow I hope I can get out and do that, with kids in the school district or adults in a research study. … I just want to help other people understand they don’t have to be held back by this diagnosis, this medical condition they’ve just had thrown upon them.”