First Impressions

Meet Maria and Elana, Brainfood’s newest interns applying their academic experience and expertise to Brainfood’s spring programs. Maria and Elana hail from the University of Maryland’s School of Behavioral and Community Health, where they study how individual and community lifestyle behaviors, as well as our social environment, affect health. We are excited to have them as awesome resources and support this spring – read on to learn what they’re excited about!

What has been your favorite part of Brainfood so far?

Maria: Definitely getting to assist with the Cooks in Training and Community Cooking Coaches class. It’s fun getting to see all the program planning and preparation in action. The volunteers, students, and staff all seem to have a great time.

Elana: My favorite part has been helping the Cooks in Training classes!  Every class is fun, exciting, and extremely informative.  I love seeing how the students, volunteers, and instructors work cohesively to accomplish their goals.

Has anything surprised you?

Maria: The transparency of Brainfood, which is a good thing! Communication is key, and I can see that being implemented day in and day out by the staff. All staff members are looped into one another’s tasks and support one another in any way possible, which I admire.

Elana: I am very surprised and impressed with the skill level of students in the kitchen.  They are all adaptable problem solvers and work effectively as a team, which leads to delicious creations.

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

Maria:  I am excited to build stronger relationships with the students of Community Cooking Coaches. They are all very bright young adults and I am eager to hear where they are heading after the program ends.

Elana: I’m looking forward to getting to know my co-workers and the Cooks in Training participants.  I’m also excited to taste more delicious food! 🙂

If your Brainfood experience so far could be summed up in a single recipe, what would it be?

Maria: Tiramisu.

Elana: Cookies because I ate so many tasty ones during my first week.

Maria joined Brainfood in January 2017 as a full-time intern for her capstone project. Maria is currently a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in community health. She previously interned for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Administration for Children and Families and worked for the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity. Her interest in health education, cooking, and program development made Brainfood the perfect match for her. She is currently working with Community Cooking Coaches and enjoys getting to learn more about the students and Brainfood’s mission.

Favorite food to cook: New recipes that require days in advance to prepare (like macarons!)

Favorite food to eat:  Salmon

Elana is a senior Community Health major in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland College Park.  As the Garden and Cooks in Training (CIT) intern, she will assist CIT program associates, maintain the garden, and develop a Brainfood cookbook.  In addition, she will plan, teach, and evaluate garden-related curriculum in the CIT classes.  She is passionate about promoting health and wellness among youth populations and is very excited to work with the Brainfood team.

Favorite food to cook: sweet potatoes

Favorite food to eat: Mexican or Thai food