Sarah Aspinwall - D.C.

Sarah Aspinwall  

Internship location: Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, D.C.
Career goal: Although it is a tall order, my goal is to halt and reverse childhood obesity and provide nutritious food and access to safe environments for physical activity to all

Internship summary:
My project at CSPI was to develop a cross-sectional snapshot of the current training and technical assistance offered at the state level to local food service directors in charge of running the National School Lunch Program. I performed an Internet evaluation on all 50 states and conducted 25 interviews with State Child Nutrition Directors. My preliminary report provided an overview of my findings, identified the best practices for training and technical assistance, offered guidance to the USDA and local advocates on how to better support states in child nutrition and meal quality improvement.

Value of experience:
To say my internship was invaluable might seem extreme, but my time at CSPI has exposed me to the cross-roads between public health and our political system. I listen to firsthand accounts of how legislation and regulation directly affects those who must carry out the daily tasks of these rules. I was able to critically evaluate how our current political system operates and have identified the gaps in communication that prevent our nation from moving forward as a healthier nation. I am now armed with the knowledge and experience to fundamentally change how public health is addressed in the US.           

Best moment:
Interacting with some of the most prominent individuals and organizations currently supporting the fight against childhood obesity.