Opening the Unpaid Internship Opportunity: Friedman’s New Direct Service Scholarship

by Julie Kurtz for Friedman Justice League

In February, Friedman students launched a Crowdfund Campaign for a Direct Service Internship Scholarship. In the video, witness the stories of past students who engaged in direct service internships. If you’re a first-year student, consider applying for the scholarship. And everyone: the campaign has 7 days left—donate and share to support service learning at Friedman! #Give2Serve 

“Is it paid? Ugh, bummer.”

“Nope, can’t do it.”

“Please tell me there’s a stipend…”

We’ve heard this story from Friedman students searching for their summer internships. Despite great interest in working for organizations that align with their passions and professional goals, they simply can’t swing an unpaid summer internship.

During a Faculty-Student Lunch n’ Learn last December, Friedman Justice League (FJL) heard a related need: faculty and student participants identified service learning as a gap in our Friedman education.

To address these two challenges, FJL initiated a crowdfund campaign to raise $4,000, enough to fund one student for a 10-week, direct service summer internship. Since many service and social-justice oriented internships cannot offer a stipend, the scholarship will support students in pursuing their desire to serve when funding opportunities are limited. Though initiated by FJL, it’s a community-wide effort! Faculty have been donating, Dean Mozaffarian has tweeted, and the administration has affirmed their support for this critical student effort.

Despite the modest financial goal, the impact will be sizable. Beyond the lifelong impact on the recipient and the service provided to the organization, the internship will nurture a relationship between community partners and Friedman.


What does this mean for students?

  • If you are a first-year student, please consider applying! Friedman administration will choose a recipient whose internship meets the values of the scholarship. All unpaid service or social justice internships are eligible!
  • Donate and share! The campaign runs till March 8th. Every little bit helps, and so does sharing the campaign with your friends and networks!


What do we mean by direct service?

It can mean many things, but here are two examples from Friedman alums:

  • Alison Brown, PhD developed a program called ‘Keep it Real: Better Food for Better Health’ at a community fitness center in Dorchester. Her program worked with women and children to cultivate fitness and nutrition skills for healthier lifestyles. It was memorable for Alison to see people grow healthier and become excited about cooking healthy foods. For Alison, direct service is about empowering disenfranchised communities while paving the way for rooted and relevant policy change.
  • As a Master’s student at Friedman, Dan Hatfield, PhD led a walking and running-based physical activity program for 6th grade boys in East Boston. Dan worked directly with the community to develop an evidence-based program. The boys learned to set, track, and accomplish their physical fitness goals. Dan, in turn, was inspired to pursue a PhD and continues to do work that bridges the gap between research and practice.

We hope this initiative communicates to the Friedman administration the student body’s desire for direct service opportunities and the need for assistance to make it possible. This direct service scholarship sets a precedent. Friedman’s summer internship requirement is one of the few opportunities we have to explore service learning before diving into our careers. We encourage all first-years to consider applying, and invite everyone to donate to make it possible!

Julie Kurtz (MS/MPH) joined FJL in 2016, after her professional experience impressed upon her that community involvement matters as much as one’s job description. She loves the rich history of Friedman students who have contributed to FJL’s unique DNA.

Eat Retreat 2016: My Weekend at Camp

by Krissy Scommegna

40 people. 9 shared meals. 20 participant-driven workshops. 4 days of culinary bliss.

This is Eat Retreat: a collaborative weekend for leaders in the food world where skills and knowledge are shared, meals are made and dishes are washed together, meaningful connections are solidified, and indulging in good food and drink is highly encouraged.


I first heard about Eat Retreat in 2013 when founder Kathryn Tomajan and director Heather Marold Thomason stopped by the Boonville Hotel where I was working as a sous chef. They were looking for a good meal, an interesting community, and insights about hosting an event in the Anderson Valley. While I was immediately interested in attending, I wasn’t sure if I was really qualified to be there. I had only been cooking for a few years and didn’t really consider myself a “food leader” of any kind. But I applied thinking I may as well see if I had something to offer.

Even if I was the token local, I couldn’t have felt more honored, and incredibly nervous, about being selected to attend as a 24 year-old. I packed up pounds and pounds of the dried chiles my family grows and drove 10 minutes down the road to the camp where I would spend the next four days.

This sounds incredibly cliché, but I’m going to say it anyway: what was waiting for me was truly life-changing. I gained confidence in myself, in the work I was doing, my skills as a chef, and made connections with people I wanted to be when I grew up. Eat Retreat helped push me to be in and stay in the food industry, where there were genuinely good people doing cool things.

When I learned that this year’s Eat Retreat would be hosted in my home state of Wisconsin, I applied without even thinking twice. There was no way I could miss out on this. I wanted to spend the weekend extolling the virtues of Wisconsin supper clubs, the iconic relish tray, and the importance of a squeaky cheese curd. And I did just that.

In mid-September, a select group of food professionals from around the U.S. and Canada converged at a summer camp in Delevan, WI. I was there to greet them with the best cheese whips and curds the state had to offer and the perfectly mixed Brandy Old Fashioned, a Wisconsin tradition.

These are my people. My Eat Retreat family. A story-driven photographer with one of the best collections of agricultural photos around. An organic olive oil and almond producer. A food journalist. A founding fisherman of a community supported fishery. A sustainable protein and cricket enthusiast. An advocate fighting rural hunger. A handful of artisan food makers. A food anthropologistFood writers and food stylists. A member of the Vermont Workinglands Enterprise Initiative. A butcher working to improve and localize supply chains. A certified olive oil taster and miller. And me—a chef, dried chile pepper producer, non-profit program director, and graduate student.

Eat Retreaters in action throughout the weekend.

Eat Retreaters in action throughout the weekend.


There was even a fellow Friedmanite! A 2005 graduate of the Nutrition Communications program, Cathy Carmichael is a Registered Dietician currently working as the Project Manager at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. Cathy had this to say about her experience: “Eat Retreat brought together an eclectic group of food professionals passionate about sharing their craft through formal and informal learning opportunities. I left the retreat with true admiration for my colleagues and their great work in an complex industry.”

At this point, you’re probably wondering what happens on Eat Retreat. Attendees plan and determine the weekend’s workshops, making the event different every year. Everyone is encouraged to dream big, meaning that anything and everything can happen.

 Saturday lunch complete with 35+ domestic cheeses, cured meats, local radishes, and bread from Milwaukee bakeries

Saturday lunch complete with 35+ domestic cheeses, cured meats, local radishes, and bread from Milwaukee bakeries


We talked about Midwestern food traditions and how Friday Fish Fry’s and meat raffles are the norm. We had a domestic cheese tasting, featuring over 35 different cheeses. We learned the delicate art of cocktail mixology and even made our own bitters. We discussed the Alaskan salmon industry and learned how to butcher a Coho. We experimented with sourdough and ferments. We learned different techniques for baking pies. We discussed the process of creating a food facility.



We talked about body image, food guilt, and the interplay of food and sex. We discussed local food cultures and the difference between amplification and appropriation. We had a bourbon and ham tasting and ate a Tamworth ham that our resident Vermonter cured in his basement for four years. We cooked each meal with local fare and other ingredients brought by attendees. We shared cutting boards and allowed for professional chefs and home cooks to teach each other in the kitchen. We became friends, stayed up too late, and had a stupid amount of fun.

 A unanimous highlight of the weekend was a bourbon and ham tasting curated by Sara Bradley of Freight House in Paducah, KY.

A unanimous highlight of the weekend was a bourbon and ham tasting curated by Sara Bradley of Freight House in Paducah, KY.


I ate too much. Laughed until I cried, and maybe almost peed a little. I shared my passions about food with people who genuinely cared and felt similarly. Got suckered into tap dancing. Cooked some pretty delicious food. Caught rainbow trout, cleaned it, and ate it for dinner. Roasted marshmallows over the campfire. Swigged Malort. And went to bed each night feeling overly nourished from the food, fun, and community that filled my soul and woke up ready to do it again the next day.

Rainbow Trout caught that morning at Rushing Waters Trout Farm in Palmyra, WI ready to be cleaned.

Rainbow Trout caught that morning at Rushing Waters Trout Farm in Palmyra, WI ready to be cleaned.


Next year when the call for applications rings through kitchens across the country, consider applying for Eat Retreat. We at Friedman have an interesting story to tell about food and the role of our studies in the broader world of nutrition and agriculture. As the next leaders in food policy, our voices contribute to the wider conversation about the current and future state of food in our country.  Facilitating conversation between policy advocates and those actually working in the food industry is important and necessary. We can be the ones to make it happen and Eat Retreat can be a way to make those connections possible.

Krissy Scommegna has been to Eat Retreat twice and is pretty proud of the quark ranch dip, potato gratin, and pecorino + piment d’ville popcorn she made. Her biggest accomplishment of the weekend? Learning how to properly sharpen her knives.