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Felicity Willis

Performance Nutritionist, British Disability Swimming

I choose Nutrition and Dietetics as nutrition sounded like an interesting degree which would combine my interest in human biology and love of food. As I went through the degree, I became more and more passionate about it. I loved the clinical side of nutrition and hence for me, studying dietetics was a natural progression. I saw this as being the best option to be involved in sport also.  I have a background in sport and thought increasingly about how I could combine the degree with my passion for sport. Luckily I had met and worked with Assoc Prof Deb Kerr in the Nutrition & Dietetics Program prior to studying and this exposure enlightened me to opportunities within the field of sports dietetics. I saw Curtin as being the ideal choice given its reputation in Health Sciences and being the only University that gave me the opportunity for further study into Dietetics at the time.

The degree helped me achieve the graduate attributes required to work in this field as I was lucky enough to be exposed to staff members who work practically within sport alongside their academic work. This gave me the opportunity to network and research avenues for future employment. The student association allowed me to begin to build a network within employed dietitians and sports dietitians which gave me a greater insight into the practical roles; thus developing my desire to work within sport. There were several areas that had inspired me and I believe this is due to the staff’s passion for their work.

When I first finished University I worked in Private Practice at several different practices in Perth. This exposed me to interesting cases clinically and in sport. However, it was time to spread my wings and travel overseas. I was successful in my application for my current position in Manchester. I am employed by the English Institute of Sport (EIS), through British Disability Swimming. This year, my work program has taken me around the world and the UK. We have had warm weather training camps in Doha and Mallorca and International competition in Berlin. We do not have a centralized program; hence I travel often around the UK to athletes home programs. I love my job, and you need to when you put in 14 hour days! It is a massively exciting time to be working in sport in the UK as we prepare for London Olympics. The EIS has given me great career development and networking opportunities also.

My advice for future students is keep an open mind, explore your options and keep striving for your goals!

Felicity Willis