Samantha Silva

HNFM Student


Program & Concentration: Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

Hometown: Williamsburg, Va.

Expected Graduation Date: June 2018

Prior Education or Experience: BS in Dietetics; Institute for Integrative Nutrition

I am proud to be a dog-loving, coffee-drinking, Zumba-instructing, [dark] chocoholic living in Richmond, Va. I love all things health and wellness and I’m on a mission to make this world a happier and healthier place!

Why did you choose UWS?
As a student of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I was introduced to the world of functional medicine by the brilliant Dr. Kristi Hughes. After hearing her speak of finding the root cause of disease and utilizing food as medicine, I knew that this was the path I was meant to pursue. I began researching several graduate programs, all of which looked wonderful; however, the course names and descriptions, partnership with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and flexibility in scheduling all made UWS truly stand out from the rest. Choosing UWS and the Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine (HNFM) program was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What has been your favorite class/instructor?
If I had to choose just one, it would be the Gastrointestinal Imbalances class. The gut never ceases to amaze me and Dr. Hawrelak’s phenomenal instruction certainly solidified my fascination! In all honesty though, I have absolutely loved every class and instructor in this program. Each professor is an expert in his or her field and they truly want their students to succeed.

What has been your experience with learning in HNFM’s online environment?
The online learning environment has been fantastic, convenient and incredibly easy to navigate. Given the fact that I work full-time and have other commitments, I am so grateful to be able to complete my master’s degree completely online. Although I am a distance learner, I have never felt as though my professors or classmates were far away—I am provided feedback, support and help almost immediately whenever needed.

What has been the most surprising part of attending UWS?
I have been surprised by how connected I feel to the UWS community despite being across the country. The amount of support, encouragement and inspiration that I have received from my instructors and classmates is truly invaluable. I plan on traveling to Portland later this year and I am so excited to meet some of these incredible people!

What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on working with a functional medicine practitioner in Richmond. The functional medicine community is steadily growing in this city and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be a part of the movement! I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned throughout this program to help others achieve optimal health and wellness.

Wild Card – What is your favorite activity to de-stress?
My favorite way to de-stress is to DANCE! I have been a dancer since I was young and something about putting on the music and moving my body helps to bring me back to the present moment and just BE. Dance allows me to be my best self and brings such joy into my life. I’m so grateful to have this outlet when I’m feeling