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Alumni News

Johna Mailolli ’09

The award-winning dietician credits Montclair State University’s Food Science and Nutrition Department, as well as perseverance, for the keys to achieving her dream of becoming a retail dietician for Shoprite, and then some.

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As a student, Johna Mailolli ’09 always dreamed of becoming a dietitian for Shoprite. In 2009, Mailolli graduated from Montclair State with a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition. For the past nine years, she has been working as a registered dietitian in various areas of the dietetics field. The dreams that she once had as a student came true. She now currently works as a retail dietitian for Shoprite of Wyckoff, one of 23 Shoprite stores owned by Inserra Supermarkets.

As an in-store dietitian, Mailolli provides free on-to-one nutrition counseling to customers, associates and individuals in the community. In addition, she hosts various health and wellness classes, cooking demonstrations and provides nutrition lectures to various nearby organizations.

Over the past couple of years, Mailolli has been able to achieve many accomplishments. In 2017, she was named Produce for Better Health Foundation Supermarket Dietitian of the Year, United Fresh Frieda Caplan Family Business Scholarship Recipient and was awarded the Progressive Grocer Retail Dietitian Outstanding Innovation award. The following year, she was recognized with the Inserra Supermarkets Dietitian Recognition Award. “This award was the most meaningful as I was chosen out of 16 dietitians on my team while only being with the company for two years.”

Although Mailolli is proud of winning several awards, she considers becoming a retail dietitian for Shoprite her greatest personal accomplishment. “I had been applying for this job for several years before I was hired and I never gave up,” she says. “It was worth every effort because I am now able to change and help many individuals to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Reminiscing on her time as a student, Mailolli says that she almost did not attend Montclair State. Initially, she was not accepted to Montclair State. However, determined to become a Red Hawk, she sought other alternatives. “I learned about an alternate admission leadership program that was being offered to individuals who did not meet specific requirements,” she says. “I applied to the program and was accepted.”

While at Montclair State, she participated in the Montclair State University Dietetic Internship. The 9 month internship exposed her to the different areas of the nutrition field including hospital and community work. “Some rotations were more difficult than others but I absorbed as much experience as I could,” she says. “Instead of counting the days until the internship ended, I learned to make each day count.”

Mailolli is grateful for the guidance and mentorship of three specific professors. Professors Maria Stanish and Donna Duardo of the Food Science and Nutrition department, coached and supported her during her dietetic internship program. “They taught me invaluable skills that I continue to use today as a dietitian,” she says. Dr. Robert Gilbert’s yoga class taught her the most important and effective skills which she now uses in her career and in life. “He influenced me to become my own motivational coach.”

She is appreciative for her time at Montclair State and credits the institution for giving her the foundation and training to succeed in her career. A proud Red Hawk, Mailolli gives back to her alma mater by coaching Montclair State University dietetic students who intern for Inserra Supermarkets. “I enjoy sharing my journey of becoming a Shoprite Dietitian with students,” she says. “I hope my experience serves as an example that a setback is just a setup for a comeback.”