“My own experience confirms my belief in the importance of education and lifelong learning.”
Ana Abad-Jorge has always been passionate about being an educator. When she was in college, her goal was to become a high school science teacher, but when she graduated, she chose instead to pursue a career in clinical nutrition and dietetics. Upon completing her master’s degree, she became a pediatric nutritionist and registered dietitian. She spent 27 years in the University of Virginia Health System, caring, among other duties, for the most fragile of premature babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and critically ill children in Pediatric Intensive Care. But all this time, Ana felt the pull of being a teacher. She realized that if she were to fulfill her aspirations as an educator, she herself would have to make a commitment to her own education. Today, Ana holds a doctorate in higher education and adult learning, which she earned as a part-time student. As program director and assistant professor for the School’s Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management and graduate Certificate in Health Sciences Management, she is now in a position to help others do as she did and gain the education they need to realize their goals.
Ana discovered her love of adult learning 20 years ago, when she began serving as program director at the Health System’s Nutrition and Dietetic Internship Program. She enrolled in a doctoral program with the intention of gaining the credentials she needed to expand the internship program to include a graduate degree in clinical nutrition at the University of Virginia. “They say that life is not the destination, but the journey,” she says. “That certainly is the case for me.” When the School created the new bachelor’s program, Ana was drawn to take her skills as a program director and educator and apply them to adult learning.
“My own experience confirms my belief in the importance of education and lifelong learning,” she says. “I know what it’s like to take courses online and to make sacrifices to devote myself to my studies. But I also know the kind of opportunities education opens up. That’s why it’s such a privilege for me to lead and teach in the School's undergraduate and graduate programs.”