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Student Spotlight Q&A: Haley Adel & Nataly Aceves

Published April 21, 2021
Family and Consumer Sciences

Haley Adel and Nataly Aceves are Master of Science in Nutritional Science students who had the opportunity to work with the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach to research and assess the nutrition program for children. Through their experiences, they were able to identify the needs within their nutrition education for children. Using this information, their team was able to craft four lesson plans, which were presented to the children in the program. Haley and Nataly shared their experiences with our college to gain a better understanding of the opportunities given to students in the FCS program at CSULB. 


How would you describe your project with the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach?

Haley: This project was a great experience. We learned what nutrition topics the Boys and Girls Club children and their parents were interested in. Based upon this feedback, four teams in our class developed four lesson plans. Each week, one team member from each group presented a lesson to the children. I was fortunate to be one of the team members that taught a lesson. Our focus was on how to create a well-balanced plate. 

Nataly: The project with the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach was a very fun and rewarding experience. Providing nutrition education to children within the community is a great way to get them excited about food, culture, and overall health. It was great to see how engaged the students were in a virtual learning environment, and how they applied our lessons topics in the real world.  

What was the impact on the community?

Haley: We covered many topics from well-balanced plates, understanding the media, and building super snacks. The children were engaged during these presentations. They loved raising their hands when I asked questions and enjoyed our “Move” break where we danced and stretched. These lessons provided a great opportunity for the children to ask any nutrition questions they had, and many asked great questions.

Nataly: I believe planting the seed of food and nutrition education at such a young age provides children with the opportunity to make more autonomous decisions on what types of food make them feel good and fit into their lifestyle. We aimed to focus on food connectivity, nutrition messaging, and how to incorporate nutritious options into their favorite dishes. We hope that these tips will create long-lasting impacts in fostering positive food relationships that will last a lifetime. 

What did you learn from the experience and what are you most proud of?

Haley: In addition to developing a lesson plan, my team and I conducted the needs assessment. I had never done one before, so I was nervous. However, it was a great learning experience. We created two surveys, one for the parents and the children. We used the responses as well as findings from scientific literature to help decide topics to focus on for the lesson plans. I was very proud of our teamwork and the needs assessment we completed.

Nataly: I learned so many great things from this experience, so it is hard to just choose one! I would say that learning about the community and conducting a needs assessment prior to the nutrition lessons was one of the most valuable things I learned from this experience. It allowed us to focus on what the community has access to and knowledge of, and what topics would be most beneficial for them. I am so proud of our entire cohort for developing great lessons and delivering them in such a fun and engaging manner!  

How will the experience help you outside of your schoolwork?

Haley: Through this project, I learned how important asset-based thinking is. It is very important for to have the audience invested in a program for its success. This investment is possible by including their opinions and skills in the development of lesson content. Through our needs assessment, we captured the nutrition topics that were preferred by the students and parents. This essential piece of information is necessary to guide the nutrition program towards the interests of the target audience, and will hopefully make the content resonate more with them to create lasting health impacts. It will be important to carry this idea of asset-based thinking into all my work that I do as a registered dietitian.

Nataly: Outside of my studies, I am a CalFresh Healthy Living Trainer. I provide nutrition classes for CSULB students, and target nutrition tips to various audiences. I am excited to apply what I have learned through this project into my nutrition classes for CSULB students. My lesson for the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach focused on Nutrition and Media messaging. I believe weaving this topic into other classes is a great way to discuss how the rise of social media and technology influences our perception on food and nutrition. 

What are your professional goals after you complete your degree?

Haley: I would like to first work as a clinical dietitian after completing my degree. Later in my career, I would be interested in developing nutrition programs for the public and teaching at a community college.

Nataly: I hope to work as a pediatric Registered Dietitian and increase access to nutritious food options within the community. I will be completing my dietetic internship in the fall, and I am excited to learn more about my areas of interest!  
Any additional thoughts on your time at CSULB, specifically with your program in CHHS?

Any additional thoughts on your time at CSULB, specifically with your program in CHHS? 

Haley: All the professors are dedicated to helping each student learn. I am very grateful to be a part of this program, and have seen myself grow as a student. 

Nataly: As I complete my first year of grad school online, I am so thankful for all the support of my mentors, professors, and peers! This school year has been very different, but I have learned and grown so much as a student. I am so lucky to be a part of the amazing Beach community!