When it comes to eating habits, student Drew Hemler practices what he plans to preach after completing his bachelor’s degree in dietetics. “I lean toward a plant-based diet— grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and then fruits and veggies,” he said. “I strive for an appropriate amount of protein, not too much. And plenty of water.”
Before he decided to become a dietician, Hemler was making the most of his first bachelor’s degree in business administration. He supervised marketing and merchandising staff for both Eastman Kodak and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. But family health issues surfaced, and he began reading about the links between the nutrition and disease progression.
“I realized that I wanted to pursue the study of nutrition,” said Hemler. “You know the saying ‘a job isn’t work when you love what you’re doing?’ I wanted to have that in my life.”
He chose Buffalo State’s dietitian education program because it was a good value, and he’s more than happy with his decision. “I love this campus,” he said.
Now in his last year of the dietician program, Hemler has already begun to take graduate courses to earn his degree in adult education. “I’m so grateful to Carol DeNysschen [chair and associate professor of health, nutrition and dietetics, pictured at left] for helping me put together a 4+1 program.” Such programs, customized for individual students, enable them to obtain a master’s degree within one year of earning a bachelor’s degree.
Hemler, who enjoys networking, joined Buffalo State’s Rotaract Club and was elected president. Rotaract Clubs involve college students in Rotary International’s mission of “service above self.” Hemler said, “Amherst South Rotary sponsors our Rotaract, and we worked on their annual health fair. Part of being a registered dietician is community service.”
Another aspect is research, and Hemler, with fellow student Carly Dryden, presented research on the relationship between diet and cancer during different phases of the disease: initiation, promotion, and progression. They presented their findings at the annual Student Research and Creativity Celebration in May 2015.
With so many accomplishments to his credit, it’s no wonder that Hemler was recognized for both outstanding community service and his academic work. In recognition of his academic achievement and his engagement with both the campus and the community, Hemler received the Outstanding Student Award from the New York State Dietetics Association at its annual conference. In July, the Amherst Town Board issued an honorary proclamation in recognition of Hemler’s “outstanding achievements, continued community service and volunteer work, and leadership qualities,” as demonstrated by his work in the town.
After completing his studies, Hemler is looking forward to both a private practice and working with people in need through a non-profit agency. “I like this field because it never gets boring,” he said. “And I want to explore everything.”
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