Dual MPAP/MSPH Candidate Kelsey Riggs makes healthy stuff fun

Kelsey Riggs (MPAP/MSPH Candidate) shares her practicum adventure. Learn about her experience:

Hello there, my name is Kelsey Riggs. I am a dual MPAP/MSPH candidate at Campbell. I had the privilege of partnering with Dixon Road Elementary this spring for my practicum project. I created and implemented a gardening and nutrition program titled: Growing Green. I worked with students during their enhancement time to try and educate them on the importance of healthy eating practices and how a garden can help increase access and excitement about fresh produce. My program went through the basics of gardening and nutrition, but was largely hands on. More than half the time the students and I were out in the school garden. We prepped the beds, sowed seeds, watered, weeded, harvested, etc. I felt that this sort of kinesthetic learning was crucial and made the experience unique for the children as well.

I did my literature review this past fall about gardening and nutrition programs and their potential impact on student health and health outcomes. While I will not be able to work with these students long term or track their adult health outcomes, the learning experience this practicum provided was incredibly fruitful. Not to mention it was such an adventure, and I am excited to analyze the data I collected throughout my time there. I used google surveys to collect pre- and post-program data on students’ knowledge, preference and attitudes toward fruits and vegetables. It will be interesting to see what the results show!

As a part of my capstone research, I will be analyzing this data to understand the possible impact of the gardening and nutrition program. I recently conducted a handful of focus groups with some of the students who participated in my program this spring. This summer I will be transcribing those focus groups and trying to better understand the students’ perception and thoughts about the program. The focus groups were incredibly entertaining to conduct, and I look forward to looking for themes that emerge from the different group interviews. Overall, this experience was a 10 out of 10, and I think my preceptor and students would say the same.