Meet our Brainfood Summer Interns!

Rachel Birkholz (SCIT intern)
Rachel is from Charlottesville, Virginia and is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University, studying Human & Organizational Development and Creative Writing. She’s interested in nutrition, youth empowerment, and community building. She’s very excited to be working with and learning from everyone at Brainfood this summer!

Favorite food to cook: Lemon bars
Favorite food to eat: Salmon

“Before starting my summer internship at Brainfood, I really had no idea what to expect. Friends and family would ask me about my summer plans, and I would stumble over a garbled type of answer about food and non-profits and youth work. I was so excited to be working with what seemed like such a passionate organization, but still wasn’t exactly sure how to explain what they did or what I’d be doing.  From my first day at Brainfood onward, I was so pleasantly surprised by the warmth and excitement I was greeted with. Everyone I met was so friendly and passionate about what they did. In that first week, my awesome co-intern and I met nearly everyone on staff and were able to learn firsthand about the different moving parts of Brainfood. By the end of the week, I really felt like I had a grasp on Brainfood’s mission and how the different areas of Brainfood work together. It was so incredible to see the genuine interest that every staff member had in Brainfood and in educating us about Brainfood. And this was all in the first week! Our actual program, Summer Cooks in Training, hadn’t even started yet. After such an awesome first week, I was (again) unsure of what to expect for the actual beginning of program. We’d spent the week planning and discussing how class would go, but I’m one of those have-to-see-it-to-believe-it type of people. Would the students even like me? I was really excited to experience a Brainfood program firsthand, but still felt a little nervous the night before the first day! Well, fast-forward five super-fast weeks and I can tell you that Summer Cooks in Training was an incredible experience. I had such a great time each and every day getting to know the students and learning with them in the kitchen. In such a short amount of time, we explored so many different areas of food and cooking, and I was able to witness firsthand the growth of our class. What an amazing group of students. From Day 1, every student was so supportive and open to one another. I had such an incredible time this summer working as a Summer Cooks in Training Intern. I went in not knowing quite what to expect, and came out with an experience better than I could have ever imagined. I’m so grateful for everyone on Brainfood’s staff and for all of the Summer Cooks in Training for giving me such a great internship experience.”



Hannah Roucher (SCIT intern)
Hannah joined Brainfood in June 2017 as a full time intern for the Summer Cooks in Training Program. Hannah is currently a senior at Tel Aviv University pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Middle Eastern Studies. She previously earned her associates degree in culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University with a focus in nutrition and has worked as a camp counselor for numerous years. Her interest in cooking and youth empowerment made Brainfood the perfect match for her. She is very excited to meet the students and learn more about the different programs Brainfood has to offer!

Favorite food to cook: sandwiches
Favorite food to eat: Mint chocolate chip ice cream with rainbow sprinkles

“My experience at Brainfood as an intern for the Summer Cooks in Training program was nothing but wonderful, exciting, and fulfilling! I came in not knowing what to expect, and what I found was an incredibly welcoming organization doing remarkable work with youth every day. I enjoyed every aspect of my six weeks with Brainfood, but here are some of my favorite highlights: First was meeting and cooking with our amazing and unique group of students and learning from them just as much as they may have learned at Brainfood! They did such a great job every day in class while they mastered new cooking skills and food knowledge. My next highlight would be the Brainfood garden. I had the incredible opportunity to harvest vegetables, herbs, and more nearly bi-weekly for recipes that were being made in class. I really enjoyed being part of the sustainable food culture Brainfood has created with its educational garden. Last, and definitely not least, I had the complete pleasure of meeting and working with the most amazing staff. Everyone is extremely positive, encouraging to new ideas, and helpful in welcoming new members in, even if temporarily. I learned so much about youth development and about all the terrific programs going on that encourage the youth of D.C. every day.  I am going to miss coming to Brainfood every day, but this is not goodbye!”



Sarah Berman (Test Kitchen/Garden Intern)
Sarah joined Brainfood in May of 2017 as a full time intern through the the University of Maryland’s community health BS program. She has previously worked with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project and the UMD Campus Pantry, and she is particularly interested in the relationship between food waste and food insecurity. Sarah joined Test Kitchen because her previous experiences made Brainfood’s mission very appealing to her, and also because she loves food. In her free time, she likes running, reading, and fixing bikes, and she plans on hiking the Appalachian Trail beginning next spring.

Favorite food to cook: Chilean empanadas de pino
Favorite food to eat: Fried rice

“I am so glad that I was able to get an internship with Brainfood this summer! I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the staff at Brainfood as well as all of my wonderful students in Test Kitchen. I have learned so much about gardening and cooking this summer, and have developed skills I am looking forward to using in the future. Brainfood has such a fun and welcoming atmosphere and everyday is different, which makes it so easy to come to work in the morning. It’s hard to come up with just one favorite memory, but every Thursday I enjoyed working with students to run Mini Market, and I loved taking them on field trips to the USDA, Union Market, and the Botanic Gardens. Before hearing about Brainfood, I had no idea such awesome organizations and programs existed in the city. I have learned something valuable from each and every Brainfood staff member and student and I am so grateful I got the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team of people! I can’t believe the summer is almost at the end, and I will miss working here dearly!!”