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MadeleineW_MAHN

Madeleine Waddington

MSc Applied Human Nutrition


Research that inspires communities


Madeleine Waddington is a student in the Mount’s Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition program (MSc AHN). Before beginning her graduate studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, Madeleine was completing her dietetic internship in Kingston Ontario. It was this experience that led Madeleine to discover an interest in community nutrition and public health, and ultimately, led her to grad studies at the Mount.

During Madeleine’s internship, she participated in a public health research project that examined how communities perceive access to food. And working in a participatory research project like this one helped her to realize that she wanted to work on more of the same kind of community-based research. That’s how Madeleine discovered FoodARC, the Mount Saint Vincent University research centre committed to research and action to build food security in Nova Scotia and beyond.

“I was inspired by the potential of this research to allow community members to take action towards improving their own health, specifically food security,” Madeleine says. “For these reasons, I decided to pursue graduate studies to obtain a greater understanding of these research processes and their influence on health policy.”

Research that informs professional practice

Now in the second year of her MSc AHN program, Madeleine continues to pursue research that will inform her professional practice after she earns her degree. “I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to participate as a research assistant on several projects within the Applied Human Nutrition department,” she told us. “It has been both rewarding and exciting to become part of various research teams, broadening my learning opportunities outside of my coursework and applying my research skills in practical ways as they continue to develop.

And developing these research skills is an important part of developing her professional skills in order to become a better dietitian.

“As a health professional, I firmly believe that the roles of researcher and dietitian are complementary as health professionals have a duty to make informed, research-based decisions.  Through this program, it is my goal to develop research skills that will prepare me for a future role as a public health nutritionist by improving my ability to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice. I believe this strong foundation in research will allow me to be a leader in public health policy development.”

An environment that fosters students’ learning

We asked Madeleine whether she would recommend this program to prospective students. She was quick to recommend both the academic merits of the Mount’s graduate programs in Applied Human Nutrition, and the program’s collegial atmosphere. She said: “The Applied Human Nutrition faculty has diverse research backgrounds and expertise, enabling students to choose an area of nutrition and dietetics that interests them most.”

“I would definitely recommend this program to other students with an interest in nutrition and dietetics; particularly those who want pursue a career in research or public policy.  I have found the coursework allows students to obtain a strong understanding of nutrition research methodology to develop their research interests and guide their thesis decisions. The program also gives students adequate flexibility to take courses outside of the department, expanding knowledge in new areas.”