Madison Chapin, 18′, Food Studies Major

A portrait of Madison Chapin standing by the sea

An Interview with Madison Chapin

Where did you complete your internship? What was your title (if you had one)? Briefly, what did your internship entail?
I interned with the Food & Nutrition Services of the Syracuse City School District. My title was Marketing & Nutrition Intern. My internship entailed acquiring adequate and healthy food for students who rely on the district-wide Free Lunch Program and, ultimately, combating the negative stigma surrounding “school lunch”. To do so, we partnered with local food producers and took a hands-on approach to revamping the lunch program.

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
Through this experience, my favorite part was getting to go into the schools to talk to the students. Sometimes it can be hard to invest fully in a project without forming relationships with the beneficiaries. By sitting down with students, I was able to gain insight into how they view school lunch, as well as form relationships with them. Many of the students rely on the free school lunch as their main form of nutrition for the entire day and talking to them in person made this reality become much more of a personal priority to address.

Talk about a challenging or new experience you faced during your internship, how you managed it, and what you learned as a result.
As someone who has always had access to nutritious food, I found myself shocked at the hunger plaguing students across all 33 schools district-wide. My work with the SCSD exposed me to a completely new community; one that views food as a means of survival, not as something that tastes good or is nutritious. Coming to this internship with my own privilege surrounding food access, I sometimes found it hard when talking to the students because I did not want them to see me as an outsider.

What’s next for you?
I am relocating to NYC to become a Sales Specialist for BentoBox, a tech company that designs web experiences for many food industry clients.