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May 16, 2012

Vanessa MacLellan B&WVanessa MacLellan, BScAHN (Honours)

Applied Human Nutrition student, Vanessa MacLellan, has certainly made her mark on the Mount. 

Growing up, she could be found danc­­ing the Highland Fling, kicking around a soccer ball, or helping to organize the next event at her high school. Her kind approach and her innate leadership abilities were recognized by her teachers and peers, making her the perfect fit to deliver the Valedictory address to her high school graduating class in 2007.

At that point she was looking forward to starting her first year at the Mount in the Fall, ready to begin the next chapter of her story. “I had attended an Open Campus Day and had a great feeling about the Mount. I couldn’t wait to start.”  

Five years, three internships, and hundreds of volunteer hours later, she is once again speaking on behalf of her graduating class, now as a Registered Dietitian.

Vanessa accumulated an extremely impressive co-curricular record while completing her Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition Dietetics with Internship Education Program with Honours. She has been involved with a number of on-campus activities and organizations and volunteers her time to a handful of external organizations. When she was not in class, she was serving as the Student Representative for the Applied Human Nutrition Department, and also found time to serve as the Secretary, Vice-President, and President with Student Nutrition Services over the years.

While maintaining an impressive 3.6 GPA, she held the position of President of the Mount’s Branch of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) for two consecutive years, and initiated the first Canadian Obesity Network chapter at the Mount. Outside of school, Vanessa donates her time to Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian College of Health Leaders, and the Nova Scotia Planning Committee for National Nutrition Month.

Her outstanding volunteer initiatives and commitment to the community have been recognized through awards such as the 2010 Young Woman of Distinction Award, part of the 2010 Women of Excellence Awards from the Canadian Progress Club, the Canadian Institute of Health Research Award, and also a number of notable scholarships, including the first ever CAFP Bob Taylor Memorial Award.

But it hasn’t been all work for Vanessa; she has made sure to make room for other important things. “My time at the Mount has given me many things besides a formal classroom education.

The Mount’s welcoming, caring, and supportive environment has allowed me to learn the value of having a mentor, being a team player and a leader, and always persevering to achieve goals. My relationships formed at the Mount with faculty, staff and my fellow classmates are truly one-of-a- kind. My classmates and professors are now my colleagues and friends – that is something special.”

She is currently using her degree in a management position at Shannex, a family-owned, Maritime-based company offering Care at Home, Retirement Living and Enhanced Care services across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and she hopes to continue to work in the foodservice and/or long term care industries. It’s no secret that this Mount graduate puts her heart into everything she does, something she encourages her fellow graduates to do, and hopes her classmates always remember to keep their dreams big.