My name is Eli Moskowitz, and I am from Cheshire, Connecticut. I am a rising junior at UConn as a Nutritional Sciences major with a sports nutrition minor. I am currently in the Didactic Program in Dietetics. My goal after graduation is to be a Registered Dietitian and to help the public and address their nutritional needs.
Going into this internship I did not have much experience in the field of nutrition. Luckily, I have an exceptional supervisor who has set a great example and guided me through this internship. In the UConn Extension building, there are several other educators and staff who all do completely different tasks as part of the Extension team . Through these individuals, I have a completely new perspective on nutrition. I never realized how the gardening industry has such a tremendous impact on people’s health. Growing and cooking your own food is one of the healthiest ways to consume your meals. I have been able to apply what I have learned about gardening and garden maintenance from the Master Gardeners in order to help others.
One of my favorite programs through this internship was when I helped teach and prepare lessons with the Norwalk Health Department at the Growing Gardens, Growing Health which is at Fodor Farm in Norwalk. We provide eight different classes during this program. I led a youth group and taught them about the negative effects of sugary drinks and better alternatives for healthy beverages. I presented physical demonstrations of how much sugar is in some sodas and the participants were shocked. I also showed them how to read serving sizes as well as sugar in grams. In fact, yesterday when I was teaching one of these programs, a young child told me how much sugar was in her drink and she told me whether it was healthy or not. This gave me a sense of pride and happiness in both my students and in myself. I was glad to see that they were taking my lessons and applying them to their lives!
During the second half of this program, we go down to the community garden and help families maintain and cultivate into their garden. Every family has their own raised garden to plant what they like. Norwalk Health Department provides all types of seeds and plants, and my role is to assist in the production and growth of their gardens. The kids have so much fun planting fruits and vegetables, and the parents are very happy to see their kids infatuated with nutrition.
At the Norwalk Growing Gardens, Growing Health Program I have worked with amazing women who are part of the Norwalk Health Department and work closely with the UConn Extension. I learned what they do for their communities. Before I did not know anything about these jobs, and now I feel well informed about what they do and how they collaborate with dietitians. It has made me feel more secure and optimistic about my future in this field.
Another fun program I assisted in was the Danbury Farmers Market. I woke up in the morning of the market, worrying about the rainy forecast. The organizers had a great idea to move it to the parking garage. I have never been to a farmers market in a parking garage, but it worked perfectly. All the vendors had enough space and there was a great turnout. We, as UConn Extension, provided two nutrition lessons with cooking demonstrations. My supervisor, coworker and I led the cooking demonstrations with approximately 30 people in each group. We made a delicious simple green salad and gave each participant a copy of the recipe.
These are just two of the several programs I will help lead throughout this internship. I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge and experience, and my confidence in public speaking has increased. I never led a discussion for such a large group of people prior to this internship. I learned that one of the best parts of this experience is the rewarding feeling you get from knowing your audience is going to benefit from your teaching efforts. I have met many people with diverse jobs that have taught me how their organizations work. I have obtained advice from them that I will take all throughout my career. With the knowledge I have received from my coworkers, and the experience I have gained from my programs, I feel I have taken a big leap into the world of nutrition.