The Columns

Interns at Work: Ryan Brink ’18 The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, Lexington, VA

— by on August 31st, 2016

Ryan Brink '18

“By the end of this summer I hope to have developed a new set of relationships in the Rockbridge community.”

What attracted you to this internship?

I had worked with campus kitchen all year and really loved the work I was doing, so when the opportunity arose to stay in Lex for the summer and work in the kitchen full-time, I couldn’t say no.

How did you learn about it?

Being fairly close to the Pov program at school, I found out about this opportunity fairly quickly from Jenny Davidson.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

A big part of it was just the fact that I already had so much experience in the kitchen. The transition was fairly seamless.

Describe your daily duties.

Depending on what day of the week it is, we are usually running around between the kitchen and a variety of our delivery sites. In addition we teach nutrition lessons to children four to five times a week and cook food for the deliveries three times a week.

What are some tasks/projects you’ve been working on?

A big part of the summer has been spent in the Campus Garden either teaching nutrition lessons or working in the beds.

Have any courses and/or professors helped you prepare for this internship? Which ones?

Pov 101 and 102 really helped me view service in quite a different manner, and forced me to really consider why I was doing the service that I was. This reflection aided me significantly in learning about the mindset that is necessary when doing work such as what I am doing with the kitchen.

What do you hope to learn by the end of your experience?

By the end of this summer I hope to have developed a new set of relationships in the Rockbridge community through greater exposure to it. In addition I hope to continue improving my adaptability.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

The best perk of the internship has to be just getting the ability to explore this great county that so many W&L students never get to see, and there is a sweet farmer’s tan that comes with working in the garden so much.

What did you learn from city where the internship was located?

Staying in Lexington over the summer really helped me appreciate the people that I was with a lot more than during the school year.

What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?

The biggest thing I will bring to W&L after this summer has to be a new ability to deal with the huge variety of people and problems that can arise in daily life.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?

I would make sure that it is something you really enjoy and really feel passionate about, because there is a lot of time and energy that goes into a summer with an organization with a kitchen. Food insecurity and other problems that arise in our society don’t take days off, which means neither can you.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

If nothing else, this summer introduced me to the fantastic organization that is the national Campus Kitchens Project, and exposed that as a possibility for the future.