Author Biographical Information

  • Sarah Michelle Hudnall MS, RDN, CDCES, CLC Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics; Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics; Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Title: Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Place of Employment: Clinica Family Health, Thornton, Colorado.
  • Rayanna Lee Becker, MS Master of Science Human Nutrition and Dietetics Bachelor of Health Sciences with a Business Minor. Title: Dietetic Intern. Place of Employment: Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.
  • Laura Meza Esparza MS, RDN, CLC, Master of Science Human Nutrition and Dietetics; Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Title: PRN Clinical Dietitian. Place of Employment: Medical Center of Aurora, Colorado. Title: Clinical Dietitian. Place of Employment: University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora, Colorado. Title: Remote Clinical Dietitian. Place of Employment: Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, Kansas.
  • Sara Ortiz Sanders. MS, RN, Master of Science Human Nutrition and Dietetics; Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Bachelor of Science in Health and Safety. Title: Registered Nurse. Place of Employment: Jeffco Public Schools, Golden, Colorado
  • Ann Marie Diker PhD, RDN, Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Science; Master of Science in Human Nutrition; Bachelor of Arts in Accounting; Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Title: Professor of Nutrition. Place of Employment: Metropolitan State University of Denver


Background: Peer mentoring programs help students navigate challenges and stressors in their undergraduate education. There is minimal research on the effectiveness of these programs in nutrition and dietetics. Objective: The objective was to explore the perceptions of student mentors and mentees in an undergraduate nutrition peer mentoring program. Design: This qualitative research study utilized thematic analysis of student reflection papers. One hundred students were contacted via email to provide consent to review reflection papers. Reflection papers were collected from 33 students: 11 mentees and 22 mentors. Papers were imported into NVivo qualitative analysis software and coded for themes. Participants: Thirty-three undergraduate students enrolled in Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics (lower division course) and Nutrition Capstone (upper division course) during 2022 provided consent for reflection papers to be analyzed. Eleven students in the lower division course had been mentees, 22 in the upper division course had been mentors. Analysis: Reflection papers were imported into NVivo software. Each paper was randomly assigned to two researchers, reviewed, and coded for themes. Results: Three domains were identified—perceived benefits, perceived challenges, and suggestions. Perceived benefits included the themes relationships, advice, coping, and personal growth. Scheduling, incompatibility, and lack of confidence were themes within perceived challenges. Mentors suggested program improvement in structure and student compatibility. Conclusions and relevance: Findings suggest students valued participation in the peer mentoring program and would be interested in a longer mentoring experience.



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