Name: Courtney Eu
Class Year: 2019
Hometown: San Francisco
Internship Placement: 18Reasons
Job Title: Intern
Location: San Francisco
What’s happening at your internship?
I have been interviewing different chefs, teachers and promoters who work for 18Reasons/Cooking Matters to create profiles for their website. This nonprofit provides free nutrition classes to low-income communities around the Bay Area with a mission to create a better understanding of the impact that food has on health. 18Reasons/Cooking Matters also offers nutrition classes in hospitals to give patients resources they need to get healthier. This nonprofit also offers popular cooking classes for the public, as a way to help pay for the nutrition classes and try to bring people together through food. As part of my work, I am interviewing the chefs, teachers and promoters of the programs to help promote the organization more broadly.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I think the relationship between people that is created when food is involved is a really interesting. The fact that only 2 percent of the population are farmers but we all rely on the crops being there for us to survive, to me, is a very interesting balance and dynamic. Food can bring people together and create a real community in many different cultures, but in the U.S. it is not as common to bring people together for meals as fast food is so prominent in our culture.
People who work with 18Reasons have stressed how strong the bond to teacher and student has been through their relationship with food. I also have been in an atmosphere where many people did not have a good relationship with food and nutrition. In high school I rowed on a lightweight crew team where making weight to be in a boat was more important than having a healthy diet or a good relationship with food, so I wanted to learn more this summer about the positive effects food and nutrition can have on people.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
I have really enjoyed interviewing the different chefs, teachers and promoters. They all come from very different backgrounds, and some even came to the organization through this program, which shows how food can impact many peoples’ lives.
Because all of them are so different, all my interviews have been unique and I have learned about different communities around the Bay Area and the world. I have also learned a lot about how people followed their passions in a way to help their communities.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
Some skills I am working on are how to talk to many different people from different backgrounds. Everyone I have interviewed is diverse so I am learning how to connect with people who I might not have an obvious connection to, and to get them to open up while I interview, photograph and video them. I am also working on my Photoshop and iMovie skills. I did work on Photoshop and iMovie during high school but have not used these programs in college so it has been fun to refresh and learn new skills.
I think being able to talk to and connect to many different people is important in anything that one does in life. I also think that being able to use these Adobe software programs is a skill that can be useful in my future.
Last, I believe helping get the stories of the chefs, teachers and promoters out is important. Nutrition is something that can impact many people’s lives in a positive way, but our capitalist consumer society sometimes hides this information as big food companies push their less healthy products. Hopefully nonproIits like 18Reasons/Cooking Matters can help people feel more confident in themselves and their health and help move the food industry to a more sustainable and healthy path.