Scholarship is icing on the cake for nutrition blogger Val

Third year student Valerie Hutson has been posting for just over a year on her nutrition-themed blog, Writing about the scholarship she received therefore came pretty easily to Val!

Using her scholarship funding to attend a three-day event in London, Val shares her enthusiasm for blogging, all things nutritional and the exciting opportunities that receiving her award has enabled her to pursue.

“I started my BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health degree in 2012. During my second year, I decided to start a blog about my studies to collect my thoughts and share my passion for the subject. I set up in the Christmas holidays 2013 and I’ve been blogging ever since.

For the first month or so, the blog didn’t get many visitors but I persevered with it and a year later I’ve published 86 posts and had over 3,880 views from 81 countries.

I’m always looking for something interesting to write about and am fascinated with the link between diet, health and disease. I love the process of researching developments in the field and sharing them with my followers. I enjoy attending nutrition events, as there is always something new to discover. After each event, I take some time to reflect about the key learning points and then blog about it.

When a Scholarships Ambassador came to one of our lectures, I found out about the Excellence Scholarships for Current Students which reward excellence in a variety of areas, including ICT and enterprise. I’m so glad I took the time to fill out the application form and I was delighted when Zoe, the Scholarships Administrator, called to say I’d been successful.

With my scholarship funding, I attended the ‘Food Matters Live’ Conference in London, a new three-day event accredited by the Association for Nutrition focusing on the relationship between food, health and nutrition. There were lots of lectures, seminars and an exhibition. I even got the opportunity to ask my dissertation question to a distinguished panel including Dr Susan Jebb (Professor of Diet and Population Health in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford), Dr David Haslam (Head of the National Obesity Forum) and Dr Angela Donkin (Institute of Health Equity, UCL).

Food Matters Live

I was also able to fund a place at the ‘Nutrition Society Winter Meeting’, again in London, focusing on nutrition and age-related muscle loss, sarcopenia and cachexia. I met loads of interesting people there, including some I follow on Twitter! I really do appreciate the Scholarship Award as I wouldn’t have been able to attend without it.

Developing my blog has helped improve my IT skills and to build on what I’ve learned about social media. I am now volunteering with the Skelmersdale Community Food initiative to help review the contents of their website.

Setting up a blog is relatively easy, even for a mature student! I use a WordPress blog that is ‘mapped’ to my own domain name. The hard part is finding the time to keep it going but I think blogging about your degree subject can really enhance your studies and help support the learning process.

I would encourage other students to take some time out to apply for one of the many scholarships. Meeting the other scholars, and being presented with my award by Edge Hill’s Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron at December’s awards evening was definitely the greek yogurt frosting on the skinny carrot cake!”