Caren Weiner, R.D.
Caren Weiner is a Sports Nutritionist at Amherst College and UMass Amherst in Amherst, MA.
What is your job title?
I am a Sports Nutritionist and also a Registered Dietician at UMass and Amherst College.
Where do you work?
I work at UMass Amherst in two locations: Boyden Gym and University Health Services. I also work at Amherst College.
What is your educational preparation?
I graduated from University of Rhode Island with bachelors in Nutrition and got my Masters in Community Nutrition from University of Connecticut. I did not complete an internship because it was not required when I went to college. You just had to pass the RD exam to become a registered dietician.
Why did you choose this job?
I began working for UMass in 1979 in a dual role as a community and clinical nutritionist. As part of this job I was contracted out to Valley Health Plan. I have worked at UHS ever since. I took the position of sports nutritionist for UMass Athletics 4 years ago because the position became available and it was something I was always interested in.
Can you describe a typical work day?
In this position, I am only available to UMass student athletes. I have half hour appointments with a variety of athletes, mostly females, looking to discuss a wide variety of nutrition issues. These vary from eating disorders, weight loss, physical improvement, and weight gain. I work mostly with the tennis and cross country team. I also interact with coaches by leading team talks, life skills programs, educating teams about proper hydration, and eating before and after games.
What is the favorite thing about your job?
My favorite aspect of this job is that the students who I meet with come in healthy versus sick. They are coming because they want to come and want to improve their performance. Most of the athletes have good attitudes and a true interest in nutrition.
What is most challenging about your job?
The most challenging part is increasing the coaches’ involvement and getting the coaches to understand the importance of good nutrition for their athletes. It is often difficult to convince the coaches that nutrition could make a real difference in improving the team.
Can you share with me any previous positions that you held?
My first job was a nutritionist in a WIC center for a year in Connecticut. After that I spent a summer running a community canning center in Northampton, MA. Since then I have worked as a clinical dietician at UMass, Amherst, Smith, Westfield State and Tri County Youth.
Do you have any advice for current nutrition students?
A good foundation in counseling is very important for success in the field. Also if you are interested in sports nutrition, be sure you obtain your certification in sports nutrition when starting in the field.