As my internship nears its end, I think about all that I learned in relation to all that I was hoping to learn. I believe that this internship has allowed me to learn in ways that I was hoping to that, but also in ways that I was not expecting.
Coming into this internship with Community Servings, I was hoping to be able to use my academic background to enhance the internship experience. I took “Food, Justice, and Health,” with Professor Shostak where we learned about all things related to food insecurity, health impacts, and organizational efforts to combat this. We learned about the Food is Medicine Massachusetts Coalition, and I was excited to be able to use what I’ve learned about the coalition as I take part in it through the leading organization. I can definitely say that all that I learned in the class enhanced my learning experience by giving me a framework to build off. Through the experience, though, I was also inspired academically in new ways. I realized that I would really like to take more science based classes in my future at Brandeis and get more insight into the facts that we know to be true. This internship allowed me to both use my current academic knowledge to enhance the experience, while also inspire my future academic endeavors.
With the framework of the class as a background, I knew just how important it is to have the community be part of leading any service that is done. I knew that this was an area where FIMMA could improve upon. At large, FIMMA does great work to better the health of those who are food insecure. However, most of it does not engage the community in a way that allows them to be part of the leadership team. Coming into the internship, I knew that I wanted to learn what was necessary to make that change. Throughout the summer, I have done much work to try and ensure that when I end the internship, there will be a foundation set up for the community to be future leaders. I am happy that this goal has been accomplished. After hours of CBO Task Force meetings, lots of outreach, and many proposed strategies, I am happy that a Community Advisory Panel is finally in the making. The panel will consist of numerous community members from different organizations in the CBO Task Force. Through this panel, the community is going to be given a space to lead.
This internship has allowed me to clarify my career interests further. I would say that I am certainly someone who is still exploring their options, and is unsure of what the future may hold in terms of careers. However, this has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding and awareness around what I may want from a career, and what I may not want as much. It has allowed me to understand that I will definitely want something where the work is more direct, and personal. I specifically felt passionate about understanding that my work was leading to collaboration with community members within FIMMA. It has inspired me to consider something that is more hands-on, where the overarching work of the career involves interacting with those who are given any type of service.
To anyone who may also be passionate about the issue of food insecurity / health, I would definitely advise to get involved in any way that you can. Bringing your passions into any experience allows it to really be the most beneficial for all parties involved. Regardless of the specific internship opportunity, if your passions and specific wants are clear to yourself it will allow for the experience to be that much more meaningful.