This Pirate impacts the community
through her knowledge of nutrition.
Allender Lynch volunteers to share her love of nutrition.
Allender Lynch, an East Carolina University senior, said her interest in nutrition began as a child.
“With my mom, grandmothers and great-grandmothers being diabetic, I heard them saying things like ‘Cheese is technically a meat,’ and as a kid, I accepted that,” Lynch said.
As Lynch got older, she began to understand the importance of eating healthy. “I started to realize how I need to be more conscious of my health because diabetes occurs so frequently in my family,” she said. “I started learning how to eat better, and through that process, I realized that I was really interested in nutrition.”
Lynch investigated and found ECU’s nutrition science program, where she is a teaching and research assistant for the Food Science Lab. Guiding students through lab procedures has helped Lynch become more outgoing and taught her how to think like a leader, she said.
“The process of teaching is a learning process all on its own,” said Lynch. “People are coming to you and they’re expecting answers and you have to figure out how to (give them what they need.)”
Lynch is already implementing her nutritional knowledge by volunteering with ECU’s FoodMASTER Summer Enrichment Program, “SMART Works,” where children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Pitt, Beaufort, Lenoir and Greene counties participate in science, math, and nutrition related activities.
“The kids practice their cooking skills and go kayaking, fishing, snorkeling and hiking. This was the first time many of them had done any of these activities,” said Lynch. “I believe that we definitely made an impact on all the children’s lives. It is so rewarding knowing that we have exposed them to opportunities they had never experienced.”
Lynch also worked with Love a Sea Turtle this summer, where children from the Boys and Girls Club and the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center were invited for one-day field trips at A Time for Science Nature and Science Learning Center in Grifton.
“I organized and worked a ‘Water We Eating’ session, where I taught children the importance of water and how we consume it by eating fruits and vegetables,” said Lynch. “I did this by allowing the kids to juice different fruits and vegetables and then calculating the amount of water in the produce.”
During this time, Lynch distributed surveys that assessed student’s dietary intake and physical activity to use for her research.
Lynch said her experiences with FoodMASTER, the Boys and Girls Club and the Intergenerational Center taught her improvisation, patience, time management and how to interact with people of different ages.
For the past two years, Lynch has spent her Saturdays volunteering at the Pitt County Farmers Market where she is the nutrition education program coordinator. She creates recipes using local produce and serves free samples to the community. “My overall objective is to promote healthy eating and eating locally,” said Lynch.
Lynch said that being at ECU has taught her that she can never know what to expect. “I never expected that I would be a teacher’s assistant or a leader. I never expected to be doing research, and now I love it,” she said.
After Lynch graduates in May, she hopes to study nutrition science as a graduate student at ECU.
What mark do you hope your work leaves?
As a professor, I would like to be able to make a change in a student’s life like my mentors have made a change in my life. My hope is that I will be able to assist minorities and those in poverty by providing data and programs that will encourage STEM interest and future careers, as well as nutritional knowledge.
I just want to help people in general. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and feel good about what I’m doing. I want to be able to smile and get dressed and run to work with enthusiasm because I’m doing something that I love and I’m helping others do what I love.
How have your courses at ECU translated to your experiences working in the community?
I use the information I gained from courses all the time. While working at the farmer’s market, I am constantly asked for information. Customers want to know how to retrieve information about diabetes, hypertension and reducing cholesterol. Customers are always asking for cooking tips and food science related questions such as “What is gluten?” or “What’s the difference between a green and red bell pepper?”
Because it’s close to home, and it’s not too big and it’s not too small. ECU is only 30 minutes away from my hometown, Kinston, so I can go home during the weekend. Fortunately for me, ECU was the place I needed to be; I have had so many opportunities and experiences that otherwise I may not have had.
What is something every ECU student should do while they are here?
Go bowling. I’ve met a lot of people who were not aware that we have bowling and an arcade in Mendenhall, and it’s super cheap. I like to bowl, and I love the arcade, too. Friends I meet from other universities are always blown away by Mendenhall Student Center.
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Grace Haskin
College: College of Human Ecology
Major: Nutrition Science
Hometown: Kinston, North Carolina
Hobbies & Interests: Singing, reading, shopping, movies and playing The Sims.
Clubs & Organizations: Golden Key International Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa
Hangout: My best friend’s house with nachos.
Place on Campus: The Student Recreation Center’s pool
Place to Eat: Mama’s house
Class:Every nutrition and Spanish related class
TV Show:Avatar: The Last Air Bender
Movie:The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Most Influential Professor: Dr. Melani Duffrin and Dr. Virginia Carraway-Stage
Dream Job: Pop star
You Can’t Live Without: A watch; I hate not knowing the time.
Role Models: My mother, Helen Lynch
Words to Live By: "Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity."
Advice to Fellow Students: Work hard, have fun, and if you can, have fun while working hard. I strongly believe that if you want to be successful, you have to work hard and carry a positive attitude. It’s easy to look at the bad side of a situation. However, that negative attitude is the same thing that will prevent you from working and will drag you down, so always try to be positive and look toward the outcome of your hard work.
Something cool about ECU: I wish I knew the clock tower had a rooster, a clown, a cannon, and a trumpet that pops out of the trap doors at different times of the day. I have yet to see all four.
“Work hard, have fun, and if you can, have fun while working hard. . . .always try to be positive and look toward the outcome of your hard work.”
– Allender Lynch