Steven DupontSteve Dupont spent 10 years as an advertising copywriter, freelance journalist and author. He published a novel, “Therein Lies the Problem,” and a nonfiction book, “Alabama Sports.” But times were getting tough. He was having a hard time gaining new business and even getting existing clients to pay. At the same time, he was getting very interested in nutrition.

“I was spending an inordinate amount of time reading and researching on my own,” says Dupont. “It was to the point where it seemed foolish not to get some credit for it, and pursue a career that I was truly passionate about.”

Dupont entered the UAB Dietetic Internship. Although it had been years since he graduated from his undergrad, he said it was better the second time around.

“I found it much easier than my first go-round in college being more mature and fewer distractions,” says Dupont. “It still required a great deal of hard work and sacrifices.”

Dupont finished the program in June 2012 and landed a job as a clinical dietitian at UAB Hospital primarily covering Neurology/Neurosurgery, trauma and stroke patients. He said his job entails two major components.

“The first is assessing the nutritional needs of patients and recommending a plan, which in many cases with ICU patients involves feeding through a tube or IV line,” says Dupont. “I determine their calorie, protein and fluid needs, taking into account comorbidities like diabetes, kidney failure, etc. The other component is providing counseling and education to patients, most often on how to optimize dietary intake for diabetes, weight loss and heart health.”

Dupont is thriving in his new career. Coming to UAB for school was not a hard decision for him.

“Great regional reputation, high rate of job placement in the Birmingham area,” says Dupont. “My education and training through UAB served as the perfect advanced preparation for my current job allowing me to work alongside other talented clinical dietitians.”

Having gone through a rough patch in his previous career, Dupont has some sound advice for soon-to-be-graduates.

“Understand your value to ‘the workforce,’ but also understand the economy out there is likely going from bad to worse,” says Dupont. “In other words, set your sights high, but be willing to accept a job that wasn’t your top choice. That said, I am very fortunate to have landed exactly where I wanted – at UAB Hospital.”