As an intern with the Campus Kitchen at UGA, health promotion major Brynna Allen has been able to make a difference for older adults and families struggling with food insecurity.
“It is hard to see those who are dealing with things like poverty and homelessness go unnoticed by so many in the community,” she says. “This work has inspired me to advocate for these individuals and ensure that everyone has an equal chance to sustain a healthy life.”
Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion (BSHP), with an emphasis in Health Services
What attracted you to a degree and/or certificate in public health?
I was drawn to this field so that I can learn how to serve my community in a productive and meaningful way. Ever since I can remember, I have had a passion for serving others. Once I began taking health promotion classes and meeting my incredible professors and classmates, I realized I was exactly where I needed to be.
Why did you choose your particular concentration?
I began my college career on the pre-health track. The Health Services Emphasis was meant to help me get there with particular focus on disease prevention and wellness. As I have grown to learn more about myself and the field, my future intentions have begun to shift slightly. Although I am no longer pre-health, I am thankful for my decision to remain on the Health Services track because I have been able to gain a wide variety of knowledge and skills that will help me be a versatile candidate when applying to jobs in the field.
Do you have any volunteer experiences that were especially meaningful?
I began volunteering with Campus Kitchen spring semester of my junior year. I attended many shifts that involved cooking meals for food insecure older adults in the Athens area. I met so many incredible people at each shift and learned I had interest in issues like food insecurity, poverty, and health disparities. This experience was very formative for me, and I ended up applying for a full-time job with Campus Kitchen that summer. I became an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate and worked with Campus Kitchen for 10 weeks. During my time, I served my community directly and indirectly through cooking meals, recruiting volunteers, collecting food from various grocery stores, and delivering food to local agencies and food insecure families here in Athens. These experiences taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined and truly changed the trajectory of my career.
Tell us about your current internship. Why did you pursue this internship? What was your biggest challenge and what did you learn from the experience?
I am currently a food operations/administration intern with Campus Kitchen. As an intern, I oversee weekly operations and help make sure things run as smoothly as possible. I pursued this internship because the AmeriCorps position I held over the summer taught me how important this work is for people in the Athens area. I have learned how crucial access to healthy and affordable food is as well as how many people are working in the community to help alleviate this issue for the people of Athens. The biggest challenge for me was realizing even after all of these resources banded together to help those who need it, it is still not enough. It is hard to see those who are dealing with things like poverty and homelessness go unnoticed by so many in the community. This work has inspired me to advocate for these individuals and ensure that everyone has an equal chance to sustain a healthy life.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your time at the College?
I am most grateful for the incredible relationships I have been able to build during my time here at UGA. Whether it be with my professors, classmates, or hallmates – they have all played a vital role in the valuable life lessons and unforgettable memories that I will leave Athens with this summer.
What activities/achievements/awards during your time here are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being able to sustain good grades, a social life, and two dance teams during my time here at Georgia. It has not been easy, and it has resulted in a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days, but I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything.
How has the pandemic impacted your educational experience at UGA and CPH?
Zoom University was an adjustment I never thought I would have to make. I learned a whole lot during the pandemic including that I enjoy attending class in PJs and that it is much more difficult to make connections with classmates and professors in a breakout room. The latter is one reason I am so grateful to be back in the classroom. Networking with classmates and teachers is such an integral part in falling in love with your field and I was missing this during COVID. Thankfully, the professors I had during the pandemic were all very understanding and worked very hard to simulate an environment like the one we had before – even if it was over Zoom.
What insights have you gained as public health student?
The pandemic showed me how important the field of public health is to everyone, nationally and globally. Not only this, but public perception of who is in charge is as important as the science itself. With the pandemic being used as a teaching tool in most, if not all of my classes, I have been able to learn quite a lot about what not do and what is best to do during unprecedented times.
Do you have any external activities that you are passionate about?
I am on two dance teams here at UGA, the Dance Dawgs and the UGA Georgettes. I’ve been dancing since I was three and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue doing what I love at football and basketball games in college.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I intend to work in the public health field and eventually pursue a Master of Public Health.
Posted on November 3, 2021.