After a few years as a financial analyst, Mark Hedegore hit the reset button, enrolled at Akron and will earn a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, summa cum laude this May.
"The fields are about as far apart as you can get," he says. "After a few years as an analyst, I decided that I want a career in which I interact more with people. My degree in dietetics will allow that, and the two degrees together will open more doors for me."
Hedegore has been honored for his accomplishments in and out of the classroom by being asked to address he fellow graduates at the 10 a.m. commencement on Sunday, May 6.
He maintained a 3.96 GPA while completing 1,200 hours of supervised practice required for graduation. Included were rotations at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and the OSU Extension in Lorain County.
At the clinic, he helped roll out a wellness program for the Eaton Corp., and he helped develop the curriculum for a college that is going to issue a Cleveland Clinic Wellness certificate. He worked alongside a clinic wellness manager on research for her media engagements, assisted her in counseling clients by analyzing diets, and helped out with various tasks related to the clinic's Lifestyle 180 and Sirens programs.
At the extension service, he helped create and implement a wellness program at an elementary school in Wellington, Ohio. The food service and recreation program was revamped, and segments about good dietary habits were woven into the curricula.
Outside of his studies, Hedegore served as president of the University's Student Dietetic Association. As president, he co-chaired the adopt-a-family program and instituted the "Fuel Up to Play 60" initiative in area schools. As part of his "Fuel Up" work, he applied for and received a grant that was used to enhance the program at the Wellington school.
"I've enjoyed my time at Akron," Hedegore says. He is especially appreciative of his fellow dietetics students, whom he described as kind, mature and generous with their time. "It seems that the busiest people are the most generous with their time," he says.
The same can be said of Hedegore.