Students doing brilliant things: Selena Evans

06 Feb 2023
by Selena Evans

Selena Evans – Student Member, Older People Specialist Group

It’s Student Volunteering Week! To celebrate we are sharing a special series of blogs that showcase the difference our student members make to our Group and Branch network, as well as highlight our latest volunteering opportunities.

To kick the week off, we hear from Selena Evans, who volunteers with our Older People Specialist Group (OPSG). Here’s what she has to say... 


Hi, my name is Selena, I’m a final-year student at the University of Hertfordshire, and I’ve been volunteering as the student Committee Member of the Older People Specialist Group (OPSG) for the last two years. I fully recommend joining a BDA Specialist Group - it’s been such a valuable experience! I thought I’d describe a couple of the benefits and attempt to dispel doubts that some might have.

Valuable insights

Firstly, I’m gaining insight into the dietetic profession from multiple angles – the OPSG Committee is super varied. Members come from around the UK, have been in practice for varying lengths of time, and work in different settings. Ultimately, I’ve gained so much knowledge of the different opportunities within dietetics, how the resources we utilise are developed (spoiler: it is a LONG process), some of the challenges that we can face with respect to conflict of interest, and why CPD is so important, as things evolve and we need to be able to adapt.

I did worry that joining a professional committee was going to be daunting and I wouldn’t be able to contribute as much, being a student.

I’m not going to lie, the first few meetings, there were things that I had no idea what they meant. The NHS LOVE an acronym! But actually, once I had given it time I started to understand, and here’s a tip- if you ask, you’ll get there even faster. I feel this puts you in a great position for both practice-based learning (placements) and your first job, as you’ll already understand some of the structures, terminology and processes.

And as far as not being able to contribute as much, the perspective of current students is so important. We are the future of the profession!

For example, a key focus for the Committee at the moment is the updated Malnutrition Food Fact Sheet – dietetics is moving away from energydense nutrition because nutrient density is so much more important. This will be a huge change in practice for many dietitians but, as a student, it’s my opportunity to add value by championing this when I go out into practice.

Practical skills

As a result of joining OPSG I have written two articles and they have been published in Complete Nutrition (CN) Magazine and BDA’s Dietetics Today; plus, I’ve gained the opportunity to work on social media campaigns, designing content in Canva, for events such as Nutrition and Hydration Week. Finally, I’ve recently taken on responsibility for the Group’s newsletter so I curate the content and remind everyone about the deadlines for it. These are skills that I will be able to talk about when I apply for jobs and use in my career.

I did also worry about not having the time or resources to fulfil these sorts of responsibilities.But being part of the Committee is being part of a team. I always have support to complete tasks. Additionally, the team is incredibly considerate of my workload and deadlines. If I need to take a step back because I have a deadline-heavy few weeks then I just need to raise it with the Committee.

In summary, I feel my time volunteering with the OPSG is invaluable, both professionally and personally and is allowing me to develop a whole host of skills that will equip my dietetics career.

Studnet Volunteering Week page