Lauren Hewitt – Master of Human Nutrition

Lauren Hewitt is a track and field sprinter who has represented Australia at three Olympic Games, six World Championships, and three Commonwealth Games in which she won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals. .

Here she talks about online learning, her love of travel and her plans for the future.

Why did you decide to study at Deakin?

When I decided to do a master’s degree I was still training and travelling so I needed to find an online program. I was coming to the end of my athletics career and I wanted to use my health and wellbeing background in my post-athletics career. The Deakin Master of Human Nutrition was exactly the course I was looking for.

Can you tell us about your time at Deakin?

The online program was a great experience. There was a forum that was very helpful and I found that the lecturers were prompt in responding to questions. The contact was great because it meant that I was not working in a vacuum.

What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?

Lauren Hewitt Nutrition came about because of the Deakin master’s degree. When I started the course I was thinking of retiring. The master’s program gave me the knowledge and confidence that I needed to speak expertly to others about nutrition. In a field like nutrition where there is so much misinformation, it is important to have the facts.

How has it assisted you in your career?

The course has allowed me to capitalise on being an athlete. I was able to add to the knowledge I gained during my athletics career and articulate it to a wider audience, from policymakers to five-year-old kids. I attribute that to having access to the latest research and the great lecturers at Deakin.

What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path.

After I completed my master’s I started Lauren Hewitt Nutrition and worked with various organisations such as Mission Australia, the St Kilda football club, Athletics Australia and VicSport. I worked on VicSport’s Healthy Choices program, which involved providing them with resources to engage canteens to provide healthier options.

My family and I have just returned from five months of travelling and I am starting to think about the next phase of my career. I think it’s important to start early with nutrition advice and would like to work with school children as a mentor and coach. They have their teachers to support them with their school work but we want them to be well-rounded people. I was 17 and still at school when my athletics career took off and I was lucky to have a whole team supporting me – excellent teachers, supportive parents, a coach, a medical team and a dietician. I think schools are realising that all children need someone other than their parents and teachers to help them achieve their goals.

What is your favourite aspect of your current role?

I really enjoyed working as a nutritionist with Mission Australia in the Dandenong area mentoring Afghani and African women. We took their traditional recipes and made them healthier rather than changing their cuisine. There was a mutual respect and we learned from each other.

What has been the highlight of your career?

My highlight post-athletics has been becoming a mother to Izzy. Career-wise it was developing the schools program – ‘Growing Up With Good Nutrition’.

What has been the biggest influence on your career?

My parents have been an enormous influence. I am very grateful that they advised me to continue with my study so that I could have this second career.

Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your career?

In whatever you choose to do make sure that there is a passion. That is the building block. Passion makes you want to learn and it is easier to impart that knowledge onto others. People can tell if you are genuinely interested and excited about what you are doing. Being an athlete was my passion. I was lucky to be talented at something but I was also willing to work hard and put in the training that was required to be at that level. That is how I feel about nutrition now.

What are your passions outside your work?

I am privileged to have a child and I have enjoyed every single minute of being a mother. I also love to travel. My family and I just returned from five months travelling around the world. My husband and I are both turning 40 this year and our daughter is still young so we thought it was a good time to go.

How would you describe Deakin University?

Deakin University is the best at what it does. It is academic, innovative and constantly pushing the boundaries.


Re-published with permission from Deakin Alumni

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