New Campus Dietician Joins MU

Mollie O’Kane, a registered dietician and nutritionist, started her role at Monmouth on Jan. 18 of this year, and is excited to connect with students and immerse herself in what our campus has to offer.
O’Kane received her Bachelor of Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she participated in a DPD, or Didactic Program in Dietetics, which geared her towards becoming a registered dietician.

She later got a dietetic internship at Delaware University which included 1,200 hours of supervised practice within different fields of nutrition, including clinical, community, and food service. O’Kane has been a part of Gourmet Dining since late 2019, and even had a small rotation during the spring semester of that year.

When asked about what she likes most about Monmouth, O’Kane said, “I loved the small community and the work being done with students… and I feel as if nutrition gets put on the backburner with students so it’s important to be here to remind you of smart choices to help with the emotional and physical well-being of students.”

Monmouth has a vast array of food choices across campus and it can often be a struggle, especially for incoming students, to understand where to begin. From the Magill Commins Dining Hall to the Student Center Food Court to the Great Hall Cafe, there is so much to pick from. Coming from environments where your next meal is often chosen for you, it can be overwhelming to have to choose for yourself in college.

Having resources such as Gourmet Dining Services is a great way for students to begin learning how to make healthy food choices. O’Kane is essential to this process in educating students and guiding them through what they put on their plates and their relationship with food.

In order to get her message across, O’Kane is excited to host a number of pop-up events, counseling sessions, giveaways, as well as share easy and fun recipes for anyone to complete on their own. She said that she wants to “try to make nutrition understandable, easy, and enjoyable for everybody.”

When considering some challenges she might face throughout the process, O’Kane described her struggle with social media and how it can often have a negative influence when it comes to eating behaviors and food choices. She wants to make sure all students’ concerns are heard and plans to combat the negative stigma around nutrition on social media with resources such as a comment box to receive feedback on helpful ideas from students beyond her usual counseling sessions.

Allison Cella, freshman social work major said that especially at college, food struggles is common among students. Cella added, “ “I feel like having a dietician on campus will be helpful for a lot of people especially with their relationship with food.”

Despite the challenges that may come with her new role, O’Kane is excited to get presentations out to students and allow them to recognize how the choices they make with food can often affect other aspects of their lives. Additionally, she plans to be there for students who are having a hard time navigating the dining hall. She said, “Connecting with the Monmouth University community is exciting to me.”

O’Kane’s role as dietician will be crucial to helping students decide the healthiest food options for them at the dining hall. “I feel like the dining hall could have more options because there are really not that many. Especially if you are vegan, there’s only one option so if you don’t like what is being served you can’t really have a full meal,” said Erin Coughlan, a freshman studying elementary education.

O’Kane plans to host special events around Heart Month in February and National Nutrition Month in March. She is enthusiastic about creating pop-up events surrounding these occurrences and hopes she can reach a wider audience. If you or a friend are struggling with nutrition and navigating food on campus, you can reach out to Mollie O’Kane through email to set up an appointment or for any questions.

Although O’Kane is still trying to get the lay of the land, she is thrilled to be here and connect with the Monmouth community through nutrition.