Shelly Matthews

Shelly Matthews

Shelly Matthews exemplifies the type of student for whom online learning is ideal. While working as a military enrollment adviser at Ashford University, she’s not only pursuing her master’s degree in human behavior at National University, she’s getting a head start on her interest in becoming a health coach or nutritionist by taking the online Nutrition for Optimal Health, Wellness, and Sports certificate program through SDSU’s College of Extended Studies. She answered a few questions about her journey through the program.

How did you find out about SDSU’s online Nutrition program?
I was researching nutritional certificate programs that could be taken online in the San Diego area, and SDSU came up as one of the first programs.

What do you think are the program’s key strengths?
I think it provides a great base on how foods work and their functions with the human body.

What were some main takeaways you got from the program?
Before the class, I did a lot of independent studying — reading journals and articles, and watching videos and documentaries. I wanted to get some basic but adequate knowledge on nutrition. The classes affirmed things I knew and did already, but also provided new knowledge such as the importance of antioxidants and how to think of managing weight loss in a different way. The class had me thinking of my own personal diet — how could I better my health by adding certain things such as specific spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables that have essential health benefits to my everyday life.

How did you feel about the caliber of the instructor and her accessibility?
I really enjoyed Mrs. Halas-Liang’s format on the subject. She provides additional links and recommends other sites and articles to read that could benefit our own interest. Her office hours to meet online were helpful when trying to figure out our writing pieces. She’s very passionate about her subject. I appreciated her insight.

How much of your time did each five-week course take?
It’s an independent study class. They provide the structure of how to complete assignments but depending on your schedule and how you can successfully complete things on your own is up to you. Personally, I have to be active in my class every day — it’s the type of student I am. I set aside time every day to listen to the discussion and took time to make sure I read and took notes on her PowerPoints on the weekend since that’s the days I have free. It would take about 10–20 hours a week, depending on the assignment I was working on, to make sure I prepared and completed my assignments accordingly.

Anything you’d like to add?
I loved going at my own pace but still gaining lots of material on nutrition. I’ve been able to practice my knowledge in my everyday lifestyle, and encourage family and friends to become more informed about their nutritional diet so they can make the best choices for their lifestyle. Next I would like to take a class on how to prepare myself as nutritional professional — how to brand myself to how to obtain clients.

SDSU’s program offers two certificate options: Nutrition for Optimal Health and Wellness; and Nutrition for Optimal Health, Wellness, and Sports — with an emphasis in sports nutrition and performance. The five-week courses in each certificate program are online, so students can register at any time. For more information, visit