I Chose ISU: Jenny Brooks, dietetics major, Benny’s Pantry employee
February 24, 2015
Jenny Brooks, an undergraduate student in the dietetics program at Idaho State University, has gone the extra mile to help organize one of ISU’s most successful outreach programs – Benny’s Pantry.
Benny’s Pantry is a food program designed to offer short-term help for members of the ISU community including students, staff and faculty who suffer from food insecurity.
Brooks has served as the student manager of Benny’s Pantry since the program’s launch in January 2014. She said she helps develop procedures for volunteers and daily operations as well as marketing the program through social media.
Brooks said she chose ISU for her bachelor’s degree because of the University’s affordability and close distance to her hometown Idaho Falls. She says she has been impressed by the faculty and the hands-on experience available in the dietetics program.
“I chose ISU’s dietetics program because of its combined focus on preventative health and nutrition within the health sciences,” said Brooks. “It’s a department where you can be creative in how you approach food and people’s health.”
Brooks said that her degree works well with the initiatives she’s been undertaking in Benny’s Pantry.
“Studying dietetics has helped me to better understand the nutrition needs of the community and the impact of hunger and good nutrition,” Brooks said, “I regularly meet students and families from the ISU community who are in need and who benefit from Benny’s Pantry.”
Last year, Brooks was able to contribute undergraduate research to the department. The topic was the views of health professions students towards people who are overweight or obese. She presented her findings at the ISU Division of Health Sciences Research Symposium in March as well as the Idaho/Washington Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics state conference in April.
Brooks will work with a registered dietician in the upcoming semester to develop sensitivity modules for health professionals to encourage compassion toward people who are overweight and obese.
Brooks also currently serves as the president of the ISU Dietetics Club, which provides professional and volunteer development opportunities for dietetics students. She will graduate in May 2015, and will apply to a coordinated program that will allow her to complete a dietetics internship while attaining a master’s degree in public health at the same time.
“The dietetics program has given me the education I need to qualify for these coordinated programs, and the experience and opportunities to have that competitive edge,” said Brooks.