Paving the pathway
Claire Wilt ’19 dreamt of becoming a Flyer and a dietitian, but as a student paying her own tuition, the price tag kept her up at night. So she charted a new path, and in doing so, paved a way for others in the UD Sinclair Academy dietetics pathway.
"I'm a third generation Flyer," Wilt said. "I always wanted to go to UD, but it wasn't in the cards for me financially to come here all four years."
Previously, students interested in the dietetics program and saving money could attend Sinclair Community College to receive their associate’s degrees before attending UD, but that took five or more years to complete.
Wilt was determined to have a "traditional" four-year college experience at UD, so with advice from Jennifer Dalton, UD dietetics and nutrition program director, she shifted gears.
"Jen Dalton really helped me a lot," Wilt said. "She made sure my Sinclair credits were transferred to UD and helped me navigate housing and campus life since I chose to live on campus when I attended UD. She made transferring feel really easy. Thanks to her, I got my associate’s from Sinclair in two years and my bachelor’s from UD in the next two."
Creating a curriculum for Wilt with Dave Clark, Sinclair’s nutrition and dietetics chair, made Dalton realize she can create a UD Sinclair Academy pathway.
"Students interested in the program can now follow the fast-tracked path Claire helped pave," Dalton said.
In addition to the UD Sinclair Academy pathway, the dietetics program, which is celebrating 80 years this fall, offers a master’s in dietetics and nutrition launched in 2019.
With the money Wilt saved on tuition, she also completed the master's program and a dietetics internship through UD’s partnership with Premier Health.
Now Wilt is working as a registered dietitian nutritionist and an adjunct professor at UD, and mentoring UD Sinclair Academy students.
"Because of Claire’s success, this is how we want to grow our program for the next 80 years," Dalton said. "By providing the UD Sinclair Academy pathway and by making the graduate degree and partnered internship more affordable, we ensure the door is open for students who do not have the financial or other support they need to do great work in their community."
Email Jennifer Dalton for more information about the UD Sinclair Academy dietetics pathway.