Prior Education or Experience: Jessica (Nomi) Spain attended University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and then after a break (which involved moving countries three times, getting married and having four kids), transferred her credits to Excelsior University and finished with a Bachelor of Science, concentration in psychology. Nomi had always been interested in food and nutrition, so while completing her bachelor’s, she took nutrition courses through San Diego State University Extension. Nomi credits this experience with providing her a direction for future studies. She spent one year doing a yoga certification, and followed up by going to Duke Integrative Medicine at Duke University and completing their Health and Wellness Coach training and certification. Nomi then became certified through the National Board of Medical Examiners and the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching to become a board-certified coach. Nomi describes herself as an eternal student and upon completion of the UWS human nutrition and functional medicine master’s program she would like to pursue a PhD in nutrition.
Why did you choose UWS?
I chose UWS specifically for the classes that are offered. I remember reading the syllabus to my husband and asking him if he thought all these classes sounded as exciting I thought they did. I also did my research. I looked into the master’s in nutrition offered at our local university, but I could not split the degree over several years. I also emailed different certifying agencies like CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialist) and checked where they were getting their students from and their success rate for passing exams.
What has been your favorite class/instructor?
So far, my favorite class has been Principles of Functional Medicine (MSN6100). It got me excited about the direction of the degree and gave me a lot of great information. I also really enjoyed Dr. Redwood’s class Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation (MSN6305), as it brought a lot of research that I had already read or heard about into context.
What has been your experience with learning in HNFM’s online learning environment?
My experience has been very positive! While I do miss in-person learning, I know that as a wife and mom (CEO of a busy household!), running my own business and being an active community member, I need to be able to manage my learning schedule. Online education has really worked for me. One thing that has helped is that I have made an effort to reach out to other students outside of the discussion forums. We have a little WhatsApp group of five of us, and we give each other encouragement and have connected over our shared desire to promote health and healing. Feel free to message me if you want to join! All students in all programs are welcome.
What has been the most surprising or eye-opening part of attending UWS?
I would honestly have to say that getting a B in chemistry was one of my more significant accomplishments over the last few years! It was a challenging but satisfying course, and I reviewed science and math concepts that I had thought I would be able to avoid for the rest of my life. In terms of surprising, I will admit that perhaps I am getting a little nutritional/functional medicine school syndrome- I have had a few conversations with my doctor about what I am learning and requested full blood work so that I can stop worrying if my CRP levels are high or if my B12 is low. He is very understanding and gives me whatever tests I request, but we both know I’m being a little overzealous. I never thought of myself as a hypochondriac, but some of the stuff that I read makes me overthink!
What do you hope to do after graduation?
Currently, I am running my own health coaching business and I plan to continue that but have more of a nutrition focus. I share an office with a physical therapist and we are working on a podcast discussing health and wellness in Israel. I will definitely do more schooling- whether it is more training/certification like CNS or trying to get into a PhD program. More school and learning is always in the future.
What is your favorite activity to destress?
My ideal way to de-stress is to get up before the crack of dawn and go for a run through the city! I love Jerusalem in the morning and running followed by a little yoga has always been my go-to activity for energy and centering.