October 8th, 2009
Laura Beechy ‘07 – Nutrition and Dietetics major from Sugarcreek, OH
Each year at Commencement, the Alumni Merit Award is presented to a graduating senior for outstanding representation of the college’s ideals of intellect, character and Christian faith. In May 2007, the faculty chose Laura Beechy, a Nutrition and Dietetics major – and College Honors Program participant – from Sugarcreek, OH.
When asked why she chose dietetics as a vocation, Laura responded, “Because everyone has to eat! The field of nutrition reflects all the different ways food affects our lives. From biochemistry to counseling to economics, I really have the freedom to pursue my ever-changing interests.”
One of these interests involved traveling to Thailand during the summer of 2006, where Laura assisted in food distribution and assessment of food preparation, nutrition education and nutritional needs of Burmese refugees in Northern Thailand. Laura Beechy won the first Paul and Elaine Wengert Humanitarian Service Award to support this work with the non-profit organization, Empowering Women of Burma. For her Senior Honors Project, Laura studied the nutrition status of 29 3- to 5-year old children living in Mae La Oon refugee camp in northern Thailand, specifically evaluating the effect of a preschool lunch program on diet quality.
Not only is Laura an outstanding scholar, but she is athletically gifted as well. Laura appears on Messiah’s Outdoor Track & Field Women’s All-Time Top Ten List for her record in the 3000 Meter Steeple Chase, as well as being named MAC Female Track Student Athlete. Her favorite memories of Messiah include not only running, but also swimming, wading, soaking, icing, and floating down the Yellow Breeches creek.
Laura is currently in the Massachusetts General Hospital Dietetics Internship program completing her requirements to take the dietetics registration exam. At Mass General she has been given responsibility over projects that impact the hospital’s nutrition services. She attends Park Street Church in downtown Boston, which has a large graduate student population, and is part of a small group at the church. Laura plans to continue on to graduate school to study community nutrition and public health.