My CAHNR Summer: Monique Mazaika Teaches Nutrition to the Next Generation

Monique Mazaika is spending her summer teaching children about nutrition through a UConn Extension internship with UConn 4-H New Haven County  

Young woman working on a laptop

Monique Mazaika '22 (CAHNR) worked with Connecticut communities through her internship with UConn Extension all the way from her home in California. (Contributed photo)

The College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural ResourcesUConn Extension internships provide students with the opportunity to learn and work in a paid, career-oriented role. We caught up with one current intern, Monique Mazaika ’22 (CAHNR) about her experiences.


What is your name, major, and year?

My name is Monique Mazaika and I’m a senior dietetics major in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at UConn.


What is your internship this summer?

I’m interning with UConn 4-H New Haven County this summer, where I’m applying my knowledge on nutrition to a variety of projects and collaborations with UConn 4-H members. For the first half of my internship, I created and prepared a nutrition workshop for seven to 17-year-olds! I spent most of the workshop educating the children on general nutrition concepts, such as the five food groups, in an interactive way through Zoom polls and an active chat box! Then I demonstrated how to make healthy, three-ingredient popsicles! For the second half of my internship, I’ll be helping others prepare for their workshops, working on social media projects, and preparing other online healthy living content.


Why were you interested in this opportunity?

I was interested in this opportunity because it aligns with my interest in community nutrition, which allows me to practice skills that I have been learning in the Dietetics Coordinated Program and that I will use after graduation. Additionally, it is an amazing opportunity to network and grow as a future nutrition educator.


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

Peach popsicles in an ice tray on a kitchen counter
Mazaika shared fun, healthy recipes with children aged seven through 17, including peach pospicles seen here. (Contributed photo)

My work promotes healthy living in all its forms, specifically through nutrition. Since my projects are geared toward children, they contribute to disease prevention and encourage healthy eating habits that, hopefully, will last a lifetime. I also hope that I have been able to spark interest in nutrition and healthy living in the children through my work. After all, taking interest in your own quality of life is powerful.


How would you describe your experience during this internship?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience working at this internship! My supervisor, Margaret Grillo, has worked with me to make this internship fully virtual so that I can do it from all the way in California. She has been helpful and supportive every step of the way. When I have any questions, she makes herself available to me. Also, she has given me the opportunity to network with the UConn 4-H staff and even people out-of-state who share my career interests. Because of this internship, I have gained experiences and skills that I will bring with me to my post-grad job and beyond!


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

My career goals include graduating from UConn, earning my registered dietitian certification, and working in the community dietetics field. This UConn 4-H internship allows me to practice what a community dietitian does and practice working with youth, which further solidifies my interest in helping educate the community about food and its effects on health. I’m grateful to be working at a job that fits so well with my interests and goals!


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