Only in Alaska

The title’s pretty self-explanatory…but there are just a few things that are a little different here in Nome as opposed to my modest suburb in Ohio…

Only in Alaska…

…can you see musk ox munching on grass on the outskirts of town (MUST get pictures of these fellas!)

…are you surrounded by pristine, natural beauty like clear streams, and these snow-streaked mountains! (simply driving by left me seriously in awe)

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…can you eat reindeer sausage every week at breakfast (now THAT’S free range game!)


…can you get really excited to be wearing flip flops and T-shirts…in June.

…can your roommate meet people flinging cigar fish on the beach, and be able to simply fill an empty coffee can full of little silvery fish to bring home


…can you hear native Alaskan languages such as Yupik being spoken, alongside English

…can you build a bonfire anywhere you want on the beach, using washed up driftwood…because Nome is void of trees


…can you feel overly excited and cheer with your roomies when watching Disney’sBalto, but then end up critiquing it because of the rather inaccurate portrayal of Nome

…does 10 pm look like 5 in the evening back home


…can you see a pet reindeer riding around in the back of a pickup truck. (Her name is Velvet Eyes & she’s ADORABLE!)



Whirlwind Week! And reindeer sausage is delicious.

So here we are- almost one full week in Nome! It’s nearly impossible to fully describe everything thus far…but I’ll try my best for all you lovely readers 🙂


(here’s a little taste of this beautiful state…stay tuned for more info on this!!)

This week began with our supervisors picking us up at the Nome airport. They only get in two planes per day…so it wasn’t too hard figuring out when to come get the interns:)


We first got a quick tour, and were treated to a delicious meal at the Bering Sea Bar and Grill. Another intern and myself decided on the reindeer sausage omelette- which was fabulous! A fluffy omelette filled with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and reindeer sausage! (When in Nome right?) We then spent the rest of Monday getting ourselves acclimated to our new surroundings and exploring the town a bit. Tuesday started bright and early at the hospital at 8 am, where we ate a great breakfast at the Fireweed Cafe, which is actually open to the public! The food was surprisingly super tasty, as I was expecting stereotypical “hospital food”. The cafe includes a daily fruit bar, along with things like hard boiled eggs, breakfast burritos, potato pancakes and…FREE COFFEE. Honestly, I’m pretty sure all of us interns are way too excited about unlimited coffee. After that, we spent the rest of the day at the “new employee” orientation. Fun stuff 😛 The rest of the week was spent going over all the projects and different areas we’ll be involved in in our relatively short 2 months here. A little overwhelming, but even more so- quite exciting! Aside from our multiple Summercise classes, a few of the things we’ll be working on will be the Diabetes Prevention Program, shadowing counseling sessions, volunteering for the food pantry and creating recipes using their food items, learning how to use a Cholestec machine and how to read lipid panels, as well as have a couple chances to speak on KNOM, the radio station here! They are going to keep us super busy for sure…but I couldn’t be happier with the amount of experiences we’re going to be exposed to.

That’s all for today y’all…I’m going to finish enjoying this gorgeous Sunday! I know that the free time we have right now is precious, and I’m not taking it for granted!

Peace and love to you all 🙂

Nome away from home

SO good to be off planes for a couple months! Feeling incredibly blessed to be here already…

Gorgeous views from the planes! I am now in love Alaskan Airlines!

puffy clouds  airplane wing view  sunset plane view

Alright so it’s technically day two…but we’re wrapping up our first full day in Nome! 8 hours of HR meetings and presentations- super fun stuff. HA. BUT I’m loving my new intern family…we’re all crazy 🙂 Our supervisor is absolutely amazing as well…she might think we’re crazy too…but I think she loves us 😉 Team cheechako for the win! (cheechako= basically a super newbie “transfer” to Alaska or Canadian regions)

group photo!

Cheesy group photo post-lunch on day one! Had our supervisor take these photos…she thinks we’re ridiculous. But she loves us.

And then this happened:

dog sled photo

Yes, we are being sled dogs and a musher.

interns climbing rocks

Climbing rocks on the Bering Sea…good times 🙂

This experience still feels surreal, and I’m still amazed I’m actually here. Loving this beautiful place!

The adventure continues…

The most memorable birthday ever?!


Well the day I’ve been waiting for has come! I’m boarding my first (of several) flights to Alaska this afternoon, getting ready to meet 7 other awesome interns, the NSHC/CAMP staff, and soon…a group of cute kiddos! I’m feeling the biggest ball of emotions: excited, anxious, jittery, unsure, happy, sad, hyper, stressed, overwhelmed, and a little (or a lot…) crazy. SO. MANY. EMOTIONS.

this basically sums it up.


Thanks to and for the Nome images! I can’t wait to have my own!!

I also thank everyone for their good thoughts, well wishes, and prayers. They are all GREATLY appreciated! I hope to do you all proud while I’m on this grand adventure. 🙂


The countdown continues

Phew, that last post was rather wordy. If you’re still with me, I thank you for bearing with me. Now where did I leave off…OH RIGHT- ALASKAN INTERNSHIP 🙂

Like I said, as soon as I read a little bit about the internship, I knew I had to try for it. It felt like a long shot, but it also just felt right. I had just under two months to submit a cover letter, resume, a contact sheet, two letters of recommendation, and complete their specific three-page questionnaire. Oh yeah, and they only take eight interns from the whole pool of applicants nationwide. EIGHT. Gulp. As I diligently (painstakingly?) worked my way through all the requirements, triple-checking everything, praying, and preparing as much as I could, I continued to- surprisingly- have pretty good feelings about getting accepted. At lease that’s what I told myself those feelings were…

Now before going any further, some of you may be wondering “What the heck IS this internship?!” “Where is it? What will you be doing?” I realize I’ve been a little vague and mysterious thus far…my apologies.

I, along with my fellow interns will be working mainly with the Summercise program, in Nome, Alaska. (Full disclosure: previous to this, if no one had reminded me of Disney’s Balto, I wouldn’t have any idea that Nome even existed…I encourage you to visit!) Summercise is a nutrition and physical activity-based program for the young people of Nome and surrounding regions. The program runs through the Norton Sound Health Corporation; specifically the CAMP (Chronic Care Active Management and Prevention) department, which is located in Nome. Interns will be responsible for planning and running different classes based on health, as well as working with the Summer Lunch program. Aside from Summercise, we will also have opportunities to work with WIC, the Boys and Girls club, and practice real outpatient counseling! To say this nutrition grad is excited for experiencing the next two months would be a MASSIVE understatement. I love the focus on disease prevention, as well as the opportunity to get the younger population excited about wellness, showing them that fitness is FUN, and hopefully start them on healthy habits for life!

In upcoming posts, I’ll share some of my preparations for my flight (I’m quite the rookie), packing tips, photos, and other fun tidbits I’ve been learning along the way! As for now, I’m going to finish up some laundry and head to bed- hey I leave for a 24 1/2 hour flight in less than 48 hours!


Many W’s

Welcome! If you are not one of my darling family members, lovely friends, or kind acquaintances, and you are wondering who the heck I am, feel free to click on the “about me” section to familiarize yourself. I hope I do not disappoint 🙂

Now that we’ve covered the who if need be, we’ll move on to the what, why, and when!

Story time! I’ll try to keep it relatively brief…

As I dug deeper and deeper into my nutrition and dietetics major, I pondered where exactly I would want to go, or what I wanted to do with this degree once I graduated. (Yes, I am the typical nutrition student- relatively type A- for better or worse!) I eventually decided that my passion was in community dietetics, and that I wanted to get involved with health and wellness in under-served populations. These ideas led me first to the desire to work in inner city areas, however then I began to feel my heart pulled in some rather unexpected directions…namely Appalachia and the Alaskan Bush. Where did this come from?? I live in a modest suburb! I don’t camp! I don’t hunt or fish! I love the Discovery channel, but I’m not confident that I could successfully spend one night in the wilderness let alone a week or more! What was I thinking? Where were these draws coming from? Frankly, I didn’t (and still don’t) know. What I DID know was that I wanted to eventually experience these places by working through nutrition and wellness.

Our amazing faculty sends constant emails with volunteer opportunities, internship openings, etc. to all nutrition and dietetics students, to give as many options for professional experiences as possible. Although some of them looked interesting, I hadn’t felt passionately enough to attempt a lengthy application process. However, apparently “miracles happen once in a while!” (Princess Diaries circa 2001 anyone? No? Moving on…) In early January of this year, I received a faculty email enclosed with information about a summer internship…in NOME ALASKA! I felt this complete moment of clarity, and immediately knew that I had to try for this internship. This was what I had (unknowingly) been waiting for!

To be continued…