Note: This is the fourth in a series of blogs about Registered Dietitians to coincide with the American Dietetic Association's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. Over the past several days we've feature interviews with some of the best and brightest dietitians in the field. See our first post about what a dietitian is here, our interview with Chef Kyle Shadix here, and our interview with Mary Lee Chin here. The series will conclude tomorrow with insight from the International Food Information Council Foundation's own Registered Dietitians about what being an RD means to them.
Michelle Pittman is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Currently, Michelle works for Lockheed Martin and does contract work for NASA. Michelle is responsible for developing the menus for the astronauts and works closely with the food scientists in developing new foods for spaceflight.
What does being an RD mean to you?
“To me, being a Registered Dietitian means helping people lead healthier lives. It means encouraging others to make lifestyle changes in order to be fit and healthy.”
What types of projects do you work on?
“My current title is Registered Dietitian and Research Scientist. I conduct food evaluation sessions for all NASA crewmembers. I plan astronaut in-flight shuttle and ISS (International Space Station) menus. I ensure that all menus meet flight nutritional requirements. I am responsible for provisioning and packaging selected flight foods for shuttle missions. I assist in the research and development of rehydratable and thermostabilized menu items.”
What made you choose to go into dietetics?
“I have always had a passion for health, fitness and nutrition. I believe what attracted me to this particular career is the fact that I have a very big interest in the field itself and never consider it boring.”
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
“I consider my greatest professional achievement being right where I am today. It’s been wonderful being a part of the space food lab at the Johnson Space Center and it’s different than any other job I’ve had before. It’s a lot more interesting than your typical clinical dietitian position. My current job is one that most people find very intriguing.”