My CAHNR Summer: Candelaria Alday ’23 Brings Nutrition Education to Connecticut Communities

Candelaria Alday is providing education to help improve community nutrition in Fairfield County through her internship with UConn Extension

Masked woman in front of mobile food pantry

Candelaria Alday (CAHNR) hands out nutritional information at mobile food pantry. (Contributed photo)

The College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural ResourcesExtension internships provide students with the opportunity to learn and work in a paid career-oriented role.


What is your name, major, and year?

My name is Candelaria Alday. I am a rising junior studying nutritional science on the dietetic track.


What is your internship this summer?

I am involved in the Community Nutrition Internship in Fairfield County at the Fairfield County Extension Center in Bethel, Connecticut. Alongside my supervisors, we are leading various nutrition education programs with EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) and SNAP-Ed. Our priority is to educate our audience of all ages on the importance of proper nutrition and give examples and alternatives to make meals more nutrient-rich. Along with educating, we provide resources to local food pantries, farmers’ markets and provide access to healthy recipes.


Why were you interested in this opportunity?

I have always been passionate about helping others improve their lifestyle with exercise and nutrition. After taking introductory nutrition courses freshmen and sophomore year, it developed my passion for nutrition even further. I was ready to get field experience to see if I could envision myself doing this as a career. This opportunity has really shown me what is beyond the doors of nutrition, and it has been amazing to witness how involved dietetic professionals are and how nutrition programs are integrated all within my own community.


How does your work help improve the quality of life for Connecticut residents?

By providing resources and teaching cooking classes, our main goal is to help improve the health and wellbeing of Connecticut residents. My supervisors and I educate the community by working with our partners, such as senior centers, schools, and families in Fairfield County, to help incorporate better nutrition choices into their own lives and for their families as well. Providing easy access to these programs via virtual classes allows more people to join and be involved!


How would you describe your experience working at this internship?

My experience so far has been wonderful. Though the months of May and June were virtual, I was able to sit in on all the planning meetings with our community partners for this year. Luckily, we can now do two summer camp programs with the youth in-person, which have been so much fun! I have had previous experience working with kids at camp, but never from an educator standpoint. It is so rewarding working with the EFNEP youth program, having students be involved and teaching them about nutrition which isn’t always taught as in-depth during their school year. We also get youth engaged in fun physical activities, which I have taken the time to create. Some games include relay races and veggie toss competitions to get them moving. We have received great feedback from the youth with the activities as well as with the education portion of our programs.


How does this internship fit with your future goals at UConn and beyond?

This upcoming fall semester I will be in the didactic program at UConn. This internship has given me a lot of insight, and I will now be able to connect what I have learned in the field with what I will learn in the classroom. As for my plans beyond UConn, this internship has already given me so many connections within my community! I will be able to apply what I have learned not only in my future career, but also in my personal life being conscious about my nutrition choices! This opportunity has been nothing but wonderful and has certainly taught me a lot so far.


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