Help Wanted

Posted on April 22nd, 2009 by

Did you know that the Kitchen Cabinet/Dining Service has a paid internship that can be undertaken for credit? Yep, that’s right. It’s called “Choices at the Table” and you can read all about it here.

Note that for the next two semesters, we hope to continue a focus on nutrition choices that we’ve begun this spring, with intern Kimberly Braun. Kimberly (along with two marketing research courses) has been doing research about nutrition knowledge, and the way that nutrition shapes our dining choices.

You don’t need to be an expert on nutrition to apply (thoughwe wouldn’t turn you away if you were!).

Choices at the Table

A Dining Service Internship on food and choice

The Kitchen Cabinet invites applications for Choices at the Table-semester-long internships exploring consumer choices, community, and food in the Gustavus Dining Service. Interns will identify an issue addressing food choice making, and will design and execute projects that focus on it. Topic areas may include health and nutrition, the environment, community justice, and taste and aesthetics. Gustavus students may apply for one of two fifteen hour per week internships. Note that for the 2009-10 academic year, the focus will be on health and nutrition.

The Internship

Choices at the Table is an academic internship for two Gustavus students to educate Gustavus community members about the significance of their food choices, specifically in the Dining Service.    The interns will develop and execute a plan for exploring a health/nutrition, environmental, social justice, or aesthetic issue with the Gustavus community. Successful plans will focus on illuminating consumer and institutional choices, and identifying the information needed to make these decisions.  The interns will combine the following activities in a mix appropriate to the particular focus of their projects:

Investigation: In addition to an examination of the literature and the experience of other institutions, the interns will do surveys and/or other research to explore the Gustavus situation.

Recommendation: Based on the relevant environmental, social, and economic factors, the interns may recommend new approaches for Dining Services.

Communication and outreach: The interns will prepare educational and outreach materials and programming related to the internship topic.

The focus of the internships will be to encourage and enable thoughtful Dining Service choices by campus consumers in regard to health, sustainability, justice and/or aesthetics.

In addition to working with the faculty sponsors and the Director of Dining Service (who serves as the internship supervisor), the interns will be expected to keep the Kitchen Cabinet informed of their efforts as well as to collaborate with each other to the extent possible.  Interns will write a summary report at the end of their term; this report will be available to the Gustavus community.

Qualifications: Junior or senior status; demonstrated interest in food, sustainability, justice and/or health issues; ability to work independently while being accountable to supervision; flexible and open to constructive suggestions; good academic standing.

Compensation: Each intern will be awarded a $1500 stipend for the semester internship.

How to Apply: Interested students should submit a one to two-page pre-proposal and a one-page summary of qualifications to the Kitchen Cabinet Chair Lisa Heldke (  The pre-proposal should outline the applicant’s plan for exploring the topic of food, nutrition, health and choice. Possibilities may include research on nutritional knowledge or effective nutrition education programs, or designing and conducting educational events about nutrition, health (physical, mental, emotional) and food.

The pre-proposal should articulate the issue and the choices associated with it, including an outline of possible education and outreach activities.

The brief summary of qualifications should include:

  1. A short statement explaining the applicant’s interest in the internship.
  2. A summary of relevant academic and work experience.
  3. The names of two people (at least one of whom must be from the Gustavus faculty) who can be contacted for a reference.

The pre-proposal and summary of qualifications are due by May 1 (for fall internships) and December 1 (for spring internships).

The Kitchen Cabinet will invite selected applicants to develop more detailed proposals for the Choices at the Table internship.  The selected interns will work with the Internship Director to ensure approval of the internship for academic credit.

For more information about the internship, including guidance on how to approach the topic or finding a faculty advisor, contact Lisa Heldke (, Steve Kjellgren (, Cindy Johnson Groh (, or James Dontje (

The Kitchen Cabinet

The Gustavus Kitchen Cabinet is an advisory committee composed of staff, students, and faculty who address the ways in which our food and dining choices intersect with commitments to health, social justice, the environment, and the cultivation of taste.  The Kitchen Cabinet:

  • consults with the Director of Dining Service, at his/her request, on matters that involve ethical, socio-political, dietary, or pedagogical uses of the Dining Service;
  • examines the role of the Dining Service in the College’s mission, and makes recommendations about that role;
  • supports the Dining Service in its work for the mission of the institution, by educating the community, both formally and informally, about that work.

The Kitchen Cabinet sponsors the Choices internship as one way to expand its educational outreach mission. The internship focuses on the role of diners’ choices.


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