Sunday, January 23, 2022

Cardinal Watch: Duruchia hopes to educate, improve lifestyles through nutrition

Senior Mikayla Deruchia hopes to use her nutrition degree to become a clinical nutritionist working in hospitals, helping patients maintain a good quality of life.

“I come from an area that doesn’t have a lot of nutrition education,” Deruchia said. “I saw a lot of preventable diseases being spread around like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So I felt like as a nutritionist I could help people similar to those I grew up with.”

Straight out of highschool she earned her Associate’s in baking from the Culinary Institute of America, but decided it wasn’t for her.

“I really enjoyed it when I did it I just realized it wasn’t going to be sustainable long term,” Deruchia said.

She chose Plattsburgh State because it’s close to home and similar to her town, just a little more urban.

Deruchia grew up in Lisbon New York, a rural town of about 4,100. She believes that growing up in a small town was helpful because it taught her  that in a small community you have to be careful of what you do and say because your reputation will be known by everyone.

“I think that helps because when you get into the workforce you’re going to be looked at the same way,” Deruchia said. “If you mess up then a lot of people are going to know, quickly.”

She is involved with the Students Nutrition Association, Planned Parenthood Generation and is a member of the nutrition and HDFR honor society. She also works at the Sundowner.

Last spring she was awarded scholarships from the Foundation for Nutrition.

Mikayla is a person and student who makes others feel comfortable, who will help others if ever needed, and who has a positive presence to people around her,” Jorunn Gran-Henriksen, associate professor and chair of nutrition and dietetics said. “She is patient, resilient and resourceful.”

When she’s not doing school work she enjoys doing crafts and reading.

I used to be really into crocheting and knitting and quilting, don’t have enough space here so try to do smaller crafts like cross stitching,” Deruchia said.

She is inspired by her mom and grandmother.

“They both had really hard lives growing up,” Deruchia said. “The fact that they were able to persevere and get through all of that and give me a better life just gives me hope that I’ll be able to do the same for my kids some day.”

Gran-Henriksen said one of her greatest strengths is successfully balancing the demand of work and academics, even with her major’s many labs and challenging courses.

“She has a passion for helping people and to use food and nutrition as a tool to improve health and wellbeing, and this shines through in all she does,” Gran-Henriksen said.


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