Riley Courtney ‘25 (CAHNR) is spending the summer supporting UConn Extension’s mission to educate the community by teaching diverse groups, from lacrosse campers to senior citizens, to up their game when it comes to nutrition.
Courtney, originally from Ridgefield, Connecticut, is working close to home this summer as an extension intern in Fairfield County. The summer programs Courtney is working on are focused on teaching different community groups the importance of nutrition and how to incorporate healthy choices into their daily diets.
“It’s really enjoyable,” Courtney says. “Working with families, everyone’s so engaged and happy to be there and learn about how to be healthier. People do want to be healthy; it’s just about providing them with the tools to get there.”
For example, Courtney went to a farmer’s market in Danbury with a table of prepared meals to show people what they can do with the produce they pick up at the market. Courtney has also worked with a children’s lacrosse camp in Bridgeport and senior centers in the county.
Another program, called Growing Gardens, works with Fodor Farm in Norwalk to teach families how to grow seasonal produce like tomatoes or squash, and provides participants with access to an herb garden. The program also includes recipe demonstrations that families get to try.
Courtney is working with registered dietitians for this internship and learning from their nutritional expertise along the way.
“I really like the idea of working with registered dietitians,” Courtney says. “I can learn from them. They’re very knowledgeable.
After UConn, Courtney, who is a kinesiology major, wants to become a health and wellness professional. This holistic approach to health includes nutrition, exercise, and other non-pharmacological aspects of a person’s health.
“I’m interested in holistic approaches, [helping people] be healthy before a disease even starts,” Courtney says.
Courtney says this internship and his time in UConn’s kinesiology program are helping prepare him to work in this field after graduation.
“It’s been a great experience,” Courtney says. “I’m learning a lot that’s helping me in getting closer and closer to being a fitness and wellness professional.”
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