By Linda Wilkins
A new discipline-based internship will be offered by the National Campus Kitchens Project in Washington, D.C., this summer, giving a Baylor sociology major the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research.
The Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative is supporting the internship along with The Campus Kitchens Project.
The Campus Kitchens Project is a national organization that coordinates food rescue and redistribution on college campuses by giving the leftovers to those in need. The project is designed to encourage students to facilitate the movement of unused food from dining halls to local groups.
Baylor’s Campus Kitchen is the only Campus Kitchen in Texas and was established four years ago. The group picks up food from Memorial and Penland dining halls five days a week and delivers it to Salvation Army.
The internship will take place over eight weeks this summer and will involve researching the learning outcomes of working as a Campus Kitchens volunteer, Dr. Maureen Rouche, national director of The Campus Kitchens Project, said.
Learning outcomes are the skills and experiences volunteers gain from working with Campus Kitchens.
Rouche will oversee the intern, whose main goal will be to design a measurement tool assessing the skills learned by volunteers.
The tool will be used to assess whether what a volunteer expects to learn is what is actually learned from their experience. The measurement tool could be a survey, but it might be another instrument, Rouche said.
One example would be a survey Campus Kitchens volunteers take before volunteering about what they expect to learn from the project. Then, when the project is finished, they would take another survey to determine whether expectations were met, Rouche said.
Rouche said she wants the intern to have the opportunity to design his or her own tool, however, that will be easy for student volunteers to use in documenting their experience.
Roche said she likes the idea of a student designing a tool for other students to use because that will allow students to take more ownership of it.
“Having a student prepare the tool will open up insight to why students [work in a] service and what they are actually getting out of serving,” Rouche said.
Other colleges and universities in addition to Baylor will be able to measure learning outcomes of volunteering with Campus Kitchens by using the new tool created by the intern, Rouche said.
In addition to designing the tool, the intern will research the current experiences Campus Kitchens volunteers are getting, which will help the organization improve those experiences, Rouche said.
Rosemary Townsend, dean of student life development at Baylor, said this internship gives the student intern major-related experience and a chance to research.
The instrument the intern develops will also allow Baylor to compare its Campus Kitchen experiences to those of other colleges and universities, Townsend said.
“This internship gives us a star in our crown in leading the way for a common measurement tool,” Townsend said.
The intern will be compensated for working through a dual stipend paid by Baylor and the National Campus Kitchens, Townsend said.
Townsend said the idea for the internship was developed almost a year ago and The Campus Kitchens Project and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative were able to coordinate the internship for this summer.
She said she proposed the idea and wanted the internship to focus on service learning for the Campus Kitchens Project.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the right person who gets the internship,” Townsend said.
Those who wish to apply can email Mary Katherine Leslie Van Hook at MaryKatherine_Leslie@baylor.edu.