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Inspiring Industry Leaders

Healthful eats, fruitful careers

Cassandra Gentile

Cassandra Gentile developed a multimedia campaign about Ontario beets as part of her two-year internship with Ryerson Eats. Photo: Clifton Li

Five years ago, Cassandra Gentile received an email that would inspire the next two years of her undergraduate career. A student in the Faculty of Community Services School of Nutrition, Gentile responded to a call for interns to support Ryerson Eats programs and services that engage the campus community.

The two-year Ryerson Eats internship program selects two third-year Nutrition students to lead an independent project that engages the community, highlights healthy eating and educates about the importance of eating locally. Two junior interns are mentored by two senior interns who are completing the second year of their internship and their final undergraduate year. The peer-to-peer mentorship enhances the experiential value of the program so that students learn how to provide leadership and direction.

A certified yoga instructor, Gentile enrolled in the Nutrition program after completing a previous undergraduate degree in Biology. “My goal is to be a registered dietitian, with a focus on food advocacy and policy but my perspective is unique – I want to empower individuals to take control of their lives while working to decrease the inequities that create unhealthy people and communities,” said Gentile. “Through my placement, I have gained confidence in my knowledge and skills, have learned project management essentials and can develop and adhere to a budget.”

Gentile produced a digital campaign including a video and blog post about Ontario beets. Grown on Rye’s Homegrown Rooftop Farm, beets are packed with nutrition and easily stored throughout winter. Her project tells the story of Ryerson’s healthy food system and the campus’ commitment to sustainability, through a crop of beets that are harvested and prepared on campus, then served at campus eateries.

“We’ve built a dynamic food system at Ryerson that nourishes our community with sustainable, local ingredients and provides a platform for student learning focused on making social and cultural impact,” said Janice Winton, vice-president, administration and finance. “Ryerson Eats interns play an integral role in our programming and messaging throughout the year, and come graduation, they are equipped with skills that will set them apart in the industry.”

Gentile has completed her final year as an intern and graduates this year.

“Now that I’ve completed my internship, I know who I want to be as a dietitian and am inspired for the career ahead,” said Gentile. “Ryerson has allowed me to get my hands dirty – outside the classroom – where I’ve learned professional skills, the importance of collaboration and entrepreneurial thinking.”

 

Inspiring Industry Leaders is a series by the Office of the Provost and Vice President Academic and Ryerson Today. Each story showcases the opportunities for student learning outside the traditional classroom. From internships to co-ops, conferences and industry travel – Ryerson students are gaining career-focused experience, enhancing their degree and discovering opportunities to make an impact in their field and on society.

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