Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Hoffman (‘22) Breaks Into Her Field With Her Internship at Ellen Bryon and Associates

Senior Elizabeth Hoffman is a member of the Class of 2022, a Nutritional Sciences major and Religious and Theological Studies minor, is involved in the Austin Scholars Program, and previously worked in a restaurant for 3 years. 

Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to work at Ellen Byron And Associates? What makes this company a great place to work?

My overall goal is to become a registered dietician. It can be difficult to find an internship in a dietician’s office. I was happy to find Ellen Bryon, who focuses on chronic diseases. It’s also great to work somewhere with the same goals and values. 

How did you find this position, and can you tell us a little bit about what you do there? And is there any advice you’d give to other students looking to break into this company? Did you find it through Handshake?

I had found this internship on Handshake, and applied through there. I work half of the time at the front desk, and the other half as a social media manager.

As a part of an internship class I took, I got Health Science specific advising, and learned that Health Science majors can gain experience from working in the Nutrition field to learn more about what they want to do in their careers.

Can you talk us through the process of finding and applying for your internship? 

This internship was one of the few I’ve seen that is at a registered dietician’s office. There are more internships at urgent care centers.  While those experiences are valuable, I wanted to work with a dietician. I applied through Handshake, and Merrimack helped walk me through the step-by-step process.  

How did you prepare for the interview? What was it like, and do you have any tips on interview techniques or questions? Did you happen to use the interview tool Quinncia?

The interview was in person, which was exciting because lots of companies are still remote. Merrimack College gave me an opportunity to do mock interviews. 

I researched the company on my own, went on the website and looked at their mission, values, and services provided. It’s so important to have questions prepared for the interviewer to show you are interested and have done your research.

How did the O’Brien Center help with getting prepared to apply, with the interview or with the job search?

I definitely would use the O’Brien Center, I follow the O’Brien Center on Instagram. It’s amazing that you can have that resource at your fingertips, and that Merrimack is setting students up for success.

In general, how did Merrimack contribute to your career development? What resources did you use?

Overall, the classes I’ve taken helped me foster a passion for Nutrition. The faculty in the health science department are always willing to help and set you up with connections. Merrimack helped me set up a LinkedIn and Handshake through internship classes, and has taught me to showcase myself and make professional connections. 

What surprised you about your internship experience? Were there any situations that came up that you were unprepared for?

I was surprised by how much graphic design I’ve been working on. I’ve had to work with copyright, and learned how to use canva. I’m constantly doing graphic design, and I’ve grown to really enjoy it!

What skills have you developed working for this company and what do you wish you had known prior to starting the internship there?

I’ve learned a lot about communication. I’m working in an office communicating with clients, patients and coworkers, and I’m calling insurance companies, scheduling patients, as well as administrative work. So learning to communicate in those different settings is really important. 

I wish I had learned not to underestimate my skills. Going in, I was really nervous, but since I started, I’ve done really well. I didn’t realize how much I’d learn within a semester. 

Any campus shout-outs to folks who have helped you along the way in getting you to this point?

Professor Liz Nataly helped me find my passion, encouraged me to follow those dreams, and is an excellent person to talk about nutrition with. 

Speaking of your time at Merrimack, how did you grow in your time here? Were there any influential clubs, jobs, professors, or moments for you?

I’ve grown so much in my time here. Merrimack taught me to advocate for myself and be proud of my accomplishments. I’ve grown from the knowledge of my class and my experiences out of the classroom, such as volunteering at nursing homes and schools with Austin Scholars, and doing service learning. People don’t realize how interconnected Merrimack is with the community. 

Seven Things You Wouldn’t Know About Elizabeth!

  • Favorite Merrimack memory so far? This year’s homecoming, as a senior, I got to bring my friends and family to campus. We’ve had a weird college experience with COVID, so it was nice to have everyone in one place.
  • Best dining location on campus? And your favorite Merrimack food? I love the flatbread in the McQuade library. I also love the build-your-own stir fry. I hope to see Mindful Mac return.
  • If you could dine with any person, fictional or historical, who would it be? Guy Fieri, I’m a nutrition major, I love food. 
  • Favorite musical artist(s) or best concert you’ve ever been to? Taylor Swift, and Harry Styles, I cannot stop listening to Taylor’s new album!
  • What is one thing we would never guess about you? I’ve never had a hamburger, or steak, or any red meat. 
  • Best career advice you ever heard? Step out of your comfort zone. Waitressing was something new I tried that ended up working really well for me.
  • What stands out as Merrimack’s greatest feature? The way the college can cater to your exact needs, and set you up for success through the O’Brien Center.
By Casey Stevenson
Casey Stevenson Communication & Copywriting Intern