Sarah Aspinwall - D.C.
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
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.
Interacting with some of the most prominent individuals and organizations currently supporting the fight against childhood obesity.
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Outside of my office at Center for Science in the Public Interest.
At a round table lunch discussion with co-founder Michael Jacobson to learn about the history and accomplishments of CSPI.
Center for Science in the Public Interest summer interns and co-founder Michael Jacobson.
This meal won an honorable mention for outstanding display at the Cooking Up Change competition. This healthy school meal was created by high school students using USDA commodity items and healthier preparation methods.
An Asian-fusion spin on a healthy school meal designed by local Washington, D.C., high school students at the Cooking Up Change award ceremony at the USDA.
A collection of common food items is used to demonstrate the disproportionate amount of unhealthy food that is marketed to kids. Studies have found children find food items more appealing when advertising gimmicks use common cartoon characters and bright and appealing colors.
This photo was used to demonstrate the need for calorie menu labeling of vending machines on each food item in the machine. The small white sign is what was originally proposed in the new menu labeling laws for companies with more than 20 locations.
USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon praises the efforts of child nutrition advocates in improving school meals at a PEW Charitable Trust information meeting on Capitol Hill.
Director of Nutrition Policy, Margo Wootan, being interviewed by Fox News on food marketing to kids and toys in fast-food meals. The interview followed the announcement from Jack in the Box that the company would stop including toys with their children’s meal.
CSPI Staff Attorney Sarah Klein is interviewed after a salmonella outbreak thought to be linked to sprouts; she advised consumers to thoroughly wash all produce.
An in-house cooking lesson provided by chef Kate Sherwood. Interns learned how to prepare a healthful, tasty and colorful frittata and side dishes.
Three simple ingredients—roasted chickpeas, cherry tomato and garlic—provide a tasty side dish that is packed with vitamins and protein.
The finished products from cooking lessons at CSPI. The majority of these recipes are published in Nutrition Action, CSPI’s largest circulating health and nutrition newsletter in North America.
Relaxing with fellow YSPH interns, Jared Augenstein and Leo Quigley, after a day’s work at a new restaurant, Lincoln, where the entire floor is tiled with pennies.
The U.S. Capitol building is a frequent site while walking to work in Washington, D.C.
Half of my time at CSPI was actually spent at the Capitol working with both majority and minority staff leaders to improve the nutritional quality of school meals.
The Washington Monument at dusk.