Scholarly in Seattle

What can I say? For my first “scholarly” conference, the National Collegiate Honors Council National Conference (what a mouthful! Ha!) did not disappoint!

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The idea of attending the annual Honors conference all began last year (my freshman year) as soon as I knew I had my first opportunity to perform some research alongside another dietetics student, Anna, while studying abroad in China. I mean…what dietetic student would not love the opportunity to share news on nutrition?! 🙂 Not only that, but to exchange ideas and research with other Honors’ students from all over the world spoke to my so-called inner “nutrition nerd.” So by combining my nutrition passion with my nerdy passion, Anna and I decided to go all in and submit a proposal for NCHC…fun fact: which got accepted on my birthday!

This unexpected birthday present resulted in another opportunity for me to open my eyes up to all the different people, cultures, and places of this world. Not only did I met others from places I could only dream about traveling to, but I thrived off of the opportunity to grow closer to students from SDSU. Traveling by plane and then by train with a handful of students whom I now know on a personal level from this trip shows one of many unexpected benefits of pursuing your passion.

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Our early flights from Sioux Falls to Denver and Denver to Seattle allowed us a chance to take Seattle by storm and explore the city. Pike Place Market was out first stop after riding the light rail downtown and dropping our bags off at our hotel. In my mind, the market was a mix between the street market I visited while in Taiwan and the farmer’s market in Minneapolis. One could easily get lost roaming through Pike Place Market filled with fresh produce, homemade munchies, and trinkets of all kinds.

As soon as we reached the Public Market sign on Pike Street, we heard the Pike Place Fishermen yell out, “T.T. for Justin!”

“Heeeeyyyy Ohhhhh!”

“Flap back!”

“Heeeeyyyy Ohhhhh!”…quite the introduction to the city!

Gorgeous bouquets of flowers were being sold for only $10, and one of the girls on our trip ended up receiving a bouquet for free. Now talk about an even warmer welcome!

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After the market, Anna and I started making our way towards the Space Needle and stopped at one of a few Cheery Street Coffee shops located in Seattle to grab lunch…one of the biggest hummus sandwiches I have had in my life! Delish! We then scoped out the area around the Space Needle and rode the elevator up all 520 ft. to soak in a gorgeous 360° view of Washington State with Mount Rainier to the South and the Pacific Ocean to our West…by far a must do when in Seattle.

Our adventures after the Space Needle only got better and better as the week progressed. I was thrilled to have the chance to take a bite into an entirely vegan meal of an African salad paired with a peanut butter and banana shake. Meals are all about balance…why not follow the 80:20 rule so you can enjoy some coconut ice cream…when in Seattle! 🙂


Not only did the food options allow me to splurge in exploring my interests, but Anna and I ran into two other nutrition students, an environmental sustainability student, and an international studies student who were all thrilled in discussing all things food, people, and environment. I thrived off of networking with such inspiring students compelled to action by their passions. Now the question is: What’s next? The journeys come and go, but my love for nutrition still stays the same. So although I may not necessarily have a plan, I am more excited than ever for what nutritious adventure lies waiting around the next corner!


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