Spotlight Gina Kucmanic
Q&A with Gina Kucmanic; Nutrition and Dietetics Major; Hometown: Willoughby, OH
- Flashes Fighting Hunger Cooking Manager
What is your area of research or interest?
My areas of interest in nutrition are currently functional medicine and sustainable agriculture. From interning at sustainable farms, urban gardens, and working for Campus Kitchen, I have recognized the key parts of preventive medicine start at the root of the body and the produce we consume. My family has always been my greatest inspiration for pursuing an interest in nutrition and agriculture. Coming from a Croatian household, the Mediterranean lifestyle was my norm, which later on, I realized was the main reason I became so interested in nutrition.
Can you tell us more about Flashes Fighting Hunger (previously known as Campus Kitchen) and what it does?
Flashes Fighting Hunger, is a student-run kitchen that recovers food that would otherwise go to waste to support the efforts of food security, waste, and sustainability. Being a cooking manager with FFH means that I get to be creative with the meals I prepare and make a difference for the community and planet. We have several opportunities for students to help the community through cooking, recovering food, serving at the pantry, or even showcasing our organization at the Haymaker's Farmer's Market. Students may sign up or view our volunteer shifts on helperhelper.com. One of greatest accomplishments was being able to support the community throughout the pandemic. Despite days with little to no volunteers, I feel proud to say that the kitchen was able to operate and grow in efforts during very hard times.
What career or path do you see yourself pursuing after graduation?
During my undergrad, I have learned through real-world experiences in culinary and integrative nutrition, the strong connection between nutrition and sustainability. As I approach graduation in the Spring, I hope to pursue my next education in nutrition with a focus on sustainable actions. Through this, I hope to motivate more people to have their own garden, grocery shop sustainably, and possibly start an urban gardening nutrition program. Once I become a Registered Dietitian, I hope to become a strong advocate for sustainable food systems with a community focus.
What is one of your favorite spots on campus? And what makes it your favorite?
One of my favorite spots on campus is the Herrick Conservatory because it is like no other spot on campus. While participating in Greenhouse Club for a short time, I loved maintaining the space and learning more about horticulture.