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  • Lauryn 1:49 am on May 6, 2014 Permalink  

    #1 Takeaway 

    The most important thing I have learned is to have fun. Working with high school students has been a crazy experience and I have really enjoyed it. I have had a lot of fun. I think in life you can prepare but not everything will be perfect so you have to enjoy as much of it as possible. I think I have also learned to be open minded. When I began, I expected that I would be teaching my students but I think I have actually learned more than they have. I have also learned from the staff and volunteers and have had the most unforgettable experience.

    I will probably post this and by tomorrow think of 10 other things I could have written about. I guess more than anything I have learned to follow my passion. I came into AU with a passion for working with development in Africa. That let me to study abroad in Africa. While studying abroad I realized I had a new passion for food and nutrition. This led me to look up jobs in this category where I found Brainfood. And now I am hoping to find a job where I am working with food, nutrition, urban gardening, and youth. But no matter what I will continue to follow my passions.

    As my last post I would like to thank all of you out there who have been reading my posts. I apologize for the inconsistency, the life of a working and interning college student is crazy. Also I would like to give a shout out to the AU Career Center and AU Interns for this opportunity to blog and gain new skills.

    And if you would like to continue to follow my life you can check out my personal blog commelaurynquoi.tumblr.com

    Thanks again everyone

    until next time


  • Lauryn 1:32 am on May 6, 2014 Permalink  

    Favorite Things 

    I love my internship so much and I would even work for them if I could so picking my favorite things is a little difficult.

    I will start with my favorite class of the year. We had guest Chef Teddy Folkman, head chef at Granville Moore’s, come to teach the class how to make pasta from scratch. The funny thing was that he came on the wrong day but class ended up being incredible. I just stood back and watched as the magic happened. My students learned how to make homemade pasta, two types of sauce, chicken and shrimp without looking at a recipe or using proper measurements. The students had so much fun and were incredibly engaged which was surprising and exciting. The food at the end of class was so good I didn’t even get a photo.

    As for my other favorite things, I will name some of my favorite dishes we have made over the year

    1. Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

    2. CoCo Bread

    3. Butternut Squash Soup

    4. Black Bean Burgers

    5. Fake Flake Fried Chicken

    6. Curry Shrimp

  • Lauryn 1:15 am on May 6, 2014 Permalink  


    The most useful skills I have gained from interning at Brainfood are paying more attention to detail, thinking out of the box/ being more creative, and having a better ability to work with youth in a leadership role.

    I have to pay a lot of attention to detain in my role in preparation and facilitation of a large class of students. We cook almost each class and have a small budget for food, therefore dividing supplies and making correct measurements are extremely important.

    Thinking out of the box and being creative is another skills I have gained. At times I am tasked with creating posters for class lessons. They must have correct facts and look appealing to the students. Even in class I have to be creative when a recipe does not turn out correctly. Although I like to follow recipes  I have loosened up and a lot of the recipes we make end up being better because we don’t follow the instructions perfectly

    Lastly, I am more comfortable working with you in comparison to when I started.  High school students can be intimidating, and being so close in age with them it can be tricky when establishing boundaries between being their friend and being a role model. With only two weeks left in the program, I am more confident in playing my role as a figure of authority and setting a good example for them.

  • Lauryn 12:38 am on May 6, 2014 Permalink  

    Advice, from me to you! 

    I was watching Mad Men today on Netflix; the episode where the British man, Lane Pryce asks Don Draper for advice to which Draper replied that he didn’t like to give advice about the predicament that Pryce was in. I on the other hand do not mind giving advice; especially when I feel I can potentially be helping someone.

    I am not stereotypical AU student who has had an internship every semester since freshman year so I have a different perspective. I also hope that this advice will help someone out. In order to keep this short, sweet, and to the point, I will provide a list below with my advice relating to internships.


    1. It is okay if you don’t have a lot of internships but, make sure your time is used wisely by volunteering, getting a job, or being active in on campus organizations
    2. If you don’t like the internship you have, make the most of it and try to work on gaining useful job skills
    3. Ask your boss to give you feedback on your work and performance so you can continue to improve
    4. When looking for internships try to find something you are passionate/ love to do
    5. Do what is best for you, if you need to work or focus on school and an internship would get in the way and take away your focus do not take the internship
    6. If you can get class credit for an internship…GO FOR IT!
  • Lauryn 3:39 pm on April 23, 2014 Permalink  

    How my internship will impact my future career 

    Seeing that I am graduating in a couple of weeks, it is no secret that my career has been at the forefront of my mind. I always like interning  because it helps you know what you like and what you don’t like. I find that separating those thoughts is difficult because you think what you learn in class is how it is but in reality it may be totally different. For example when I was a freshmen I thought I wanted to do human rights work. I had a friend interning for a human rights office so I asked her what it was like. After that conversation, I was sure I was more interested in learning about human rights rather than working in that field.

    Interning at Brainfood has been a large step in the direction I want to go in for my future. I plan on becoming a dietitian, and working with youth and young adults to help them develop healthy life habits and teach them how to cook. Brainfood has given me the most useful skills because they do almost everything I want to do.

    What I did not know I would gain is a network of people who share my interests. I enjoy talking to the volunteers and staff I work with; learning about what they do and any advice they have for me. They are all so helpful especially since they know I am graduating and looking for a job they give me advice and tell me about opportunities.

    I hope that as I move from this point in my life to the next I will be able to sustain the relationships I have formed and take the skills I learned and build upon their foundation as I make my way through my career.


  • Lauryn 5:30 pm on April 22, 2014 Permalink  

    “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” 

    -quote by William Penn

    My grandma has always told me to get my priorities straight. This piece of advice never helped me when I was stressed out and at the verge of crying. The good news is that was back in high school and since being in college I have taken her advice to heart and it has been the biggest help to me.

    I am the type of person that likes to be busy, so managing my time well is extremely important. I am a full time student with homework and papers, I have a work study job and my internship, I also write for this blog, and as a graduating senior I take time to apply to jobs. And did I mention I do not have a meal plan so I cook all my food, make time to exercise, and try to enjoy life by doing something fun on the weekend besides my homework? Well that’s my life, and I am able to balance all of it because I keep my priorities in check; and balancing starts with good planning.

    My favorite tools to juggle everything include my google calendar, a paper calendar from the Academic Support & Access Center, and a handwritten “to do” list. The google calendar I use to put my classes, work, and internship schedule in. This lets me know how much time I have during the week to do my homework, submit applications, or just have free time. The paper calendar I get at the beginning of each semester to write down when papers, quizzes, and tests will be so I can manage my time well throughout the semester. And last my to do list is a great daily and weekly tool I use to stay focused and prioritize my time.

    I often find that when I make a list of things I need to do I actually get things done, instead of walking around complaining about what I know I need to do and stressing over it. So when I have my list and schedule in front of me it is easy for me to choose to write my paper that is due the next day, instead of going out with my roommates to Georgetown cupcakes at the last minute. Seems pretty easy not but it has taken a lot of practice and the more I stick to putting my priorities first, the less stressed I am.

  • Lauryn 3:20 am on April 14, 2014 Permalink  

    The Things I’ve Done 

    Hello everyone,

    Sorry for the late post. The weather this weekend has been so perfect that I have barely been on my computer. It was so refreshing to be outside in the sun. I ventured out into the city with some friends to see the cherry blossoms. Even though its our senior year none of us had gone to see the blossoms before. I will say one tip for those who have yet to go to see cherry blossoms at the tidal basin:

    1. Go in the morning.

    2. If you can’t wake up to go in the morning go during the week when there is probably less traffic of people.

    3. Go early when the blossoms are pink and not white.

    Cherry Blossom pic

    Back to the point of my blog that was supposed to be for yesterday, I wanted to start by giving the answers to the challenge questions I posed last week.

    Q: A mix of 1/2 onions, 1/4 carrots and 1/4 celery is what?

    A: A mirepoix

    Q: Name 3 components of a whole grain.

    A: The bran, germ, and endosperm

    Q: In a GARDEN WASTE ONLY compost bin, these three items should not be added, because they are harmful to worms

    A: Onions and onion peels, potatoes and potato peels, and citrus fruits

    I know in my last post I talked about some of my accomplishments. Today I want to talk about some of the work I have most recently completed and some blog posts I have written. I am usually asked to write a blog post every few months. They usually are about my experiences. I think if I could wrote another one it would be about the guest chef that came to our class last week and taught them how to make pasta from scratch.

    Other work that I do is to create the posters that we use for the lesson portions of class. My most recent poster was focusing on food access. I really enjoy my internship but I like it more when I get to incorporate things that  I enjoy learning about such as this.

    food access


    I don’t want to poor you with repetition so I will attach the link to our Bite of Brainfood Blog where you can read about what I and the other employees, interns, and students have been up to!


    Oh and enjoy the facts from my Food Access Poster

    Until next week!

  • Lauryn 4:16 am on April 8, 2014 Permalink  


    When I think of my accomplishments they generally consist of making a healthy breakfast in less than 10 minutes, arriving to my office job on time, getting a good grade on an exam and my personal favorite, finding snacks or money in my pocket. Sometimes I find it difficult to speak of accomplishments that I can really be proud of because I tend to be very modest. When it comes to my internship I have no problem speaking about my accomplishments. If I haven’t said it already let me say that interning at Brainfood has been the highlight of my senior year. I have had so much fun with my students over the past six months. When I first started interning I made a list of some things I wanted to accomplish during my time with the students. I wanted to Listen, Learn, and Inspire. Something I didn’t think about in my original list of goals was to make connections.

    For anyone who has worked with youth programs or students knows that making connections with your students is so important if you want to be successful. It really takes time and dedication to get this one thing right and can be difficult. I believe that I have done a great job in making those connections with my students. I have the privilege of working with two groups of students.

    My first group is an older group and they are loud and rambunctious. I have been working with them since we all started in October and I have a deeper connection with them. I laugh so much in this class and always have a great time. And to see their progress has been incredible. I find I have less work to do as they become more independent in their cooking.

    My second class is smaller, and younger in age. I think they have an advantage working with fewer people because they are very efficient. I also have an advantage of getting to know them better since there are so few of them. And you didn’t hear this from me but sometimes they make the food better…Shhhh!

    Besides making some great connections in my classes I have more tangible accomplishments that I can show off. As the Kitchen All Stars Intern one of my main tasks is to put together a cookbook of all the recipes we have made. This will be finished at the end of the year and I am working on it now so I don’t want to spoil my surprises so more of that will come later.

    Working with such a small organization I am truly lucky because I see exactly where my work is going. I made a poster that will now be used during class when we talk about where our food comes from. Another project I worked on along with our Garden Intern was a poster board featuring a jeopardy game. This will be displayed at at the City Paper’s Best of DC Event!

    brainfood best of dc poster


    As you can see the game features questions in the categories for cooking/baking, nutrition, and garden. On the sides of the poster we put information about the organization and ways to get involved. Fun Fact: this poster was totally handmade and it looks like a professional made it.

    So here are some questions for you from the board. See if you can answer and check my Saturday post for answers

    1. Cooking and Baking for 100: A mix of 1/2 onions, 1/4 carrots and 1/4 celery is what?

    2. Nutrition for 400: Name the three components of a whole grain

    3. Garden for 300: In a GARDEN WASTE ONLY compost bin, these three items should not be added, because they are harmful to worms

    Take your best guess, you may receive a prize!

    Until Next Time,


  • Lauryn 2:44 pm on March 25, 2014 Permalink  

    At Brainfood I am always moving 

    At Brainfood I am always moving. The kitchen I work out of is a fairly large space and my students often like to find spots to hide in and talk with each other so I am always on the move, but I love it.

    The majority of my internship is spent in the kitchen with my students and a couple hours of the week are dedicated to time I spend in the office helping my manager.

    When I come on a kitchen day I have to set up before class and close down after class. It’s kind of like opening up a store if you are the first one in and closing if you are the last one out. You have to make sure everything is in its place and ready to go. To do this I make a list, usually in my head, but it’s so I don’t forget anything.  It goes something like this: water and cups out …check, sinks filled…check, pantry open….check, find ingredients and place them on the cart…check, wipe down counters if dirty…check, take out knives…check, put up today’s poster…check. When I am closing down for the night I drain the sinks, put away posters, knives and dish rags. Pretty easy.

    When my students start trailing in the fun begins. (More …)

  • Lauryn 12:57 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink  

    Lauryn Kitchen All Stars Intern 

    Hi Everyone (whoever you are)!

    My name is Lauryn and I am a senior at American University in the School of International Service . I am majoring in International Development with a focus on Development in Africa. Though I am very interested in different aspects of the development field I have many other interests including food and nutrition. I also learning about how food plays a role in poverty and hunger especially in the District.

    Although these interests did not initially lead me to study in DC, I am glad to be here and hope to stay after I graduate. It was my interest in nutrition that led me to the internship I currently have. I have been cooking with my mom and grandma for as long as I can remember so when I came across an organization that taught cooking to youth in DC I jumped at the opportunity to join their team.

    I work at Brainfood, a “non-profit youth development organization that uses food to help students build life skills and promote healthy living,” (brain-food.org). [GO CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE AND VOLUNTEER]. Sorry for my shameless plug but I basically have the best internship ever. I don’t want to take up your time so that is all for now.

    I will be sure to include my day to day tasks in another post but I hope that you have enjoyed reading.

    Happy Tuesday!

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