Julie Moreschi, M.S., RD, LDN, believes a teacher's role extends beyond the classroom. She believes teachers must stay abreast of new developments in their field, and support and advise students as they embark upon their professions.
"Mentoring students is extremely important," said Moreschi, the director of the Dietetic Internship program at Benedictine University.
"I find that I do most of my mentoring outside of the classroom," she said. "I mentor students by providing insight focused on challenges they may be having, and encourage them to try new things that may push them beyond their past experiences and levels of expertise."
Moreschi pushes beyond her own past experiences and enhances her own expertise by being active in professional organizations and in the field.
"I think it is extremely important for teachers to stay involved in their professional organizations," she said. "It keeps us current and fresh in our fields, and thus we can impart this information to our students.
"I think students also feel pride when their instructors are active outside of the University," Moreschi said.
Moreschi's activities outside the University are extensive. She serves as co-chair of the Wellness Committee for West Chicago Community School District No. 33, acts as an Advisory Board and Data Committee member of the FORWARD obesity prevention coalition, and serves on the Nutrition Advisory Council for Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Naperville.
"My professional activities outside of Benedictine University benefit students in that I am keeping current in my field," she said. "They help me to maintain or expand our internship affiliations, and I think the enthusiasm that is exhibited by my involvement reinforces their choice of dietetics as their future profession."
During her tenure at Benedictine, Moreschi has taught courses in both the undergraduate and graduate nutrition programs. Her favorite courses are those that deal with preventative medicine and community interventions.
However, no matter what course she teaches, her objective remains the same.
"I want students coming away from class with the ability to question and continue to learn," she said. "I want students to have the confidence as well as the curiosity to continue to expand their knowledge in whatever topic we have focused on in our course."
She also wants to impart a message of service to her students.
"I think one thing many students at Benedictine learn about is the importance of serving one another both within the University community as well as in the surrounding community," Moreschi said.
Moreschi worked as a clinical dietitian, cafeteria manager, diet office manager, assistant foodservice director, internal management consultant and consultant at a variety of health care organizations in Illinois and Minnesota before joining the faculty at Benedictine.
Moreschi's immediate goal is to complete her doctoral work. Her long-term goal is to stay involved in initiatives to help mothers and infants live healthier lives.
Her advice to students? Don't be consumed by your career.
"I tell my students to have a balance in life," she said. "Work hard, but also remember that joy comes from a balance with your home life and pursuit of your personal interests. If you are happy and have balance, you can bring your best to your career."