Summer Challenge Nutrition Courses

Each summer, Boston University hosts groups of high schools students as part of the Summer Challenge program. During their time at BU, students take classes, experience a taste of living on a college campus, and explore Boston. The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) teach an intensive 2 week nutrition course to students in each of the 3 Summer Challenge sessions. This year, nutrition course instructors were Elizabeth Treiber, BS, RDN, LDN (SAR ’13), Lauren O’Brien,  MS, RDN, LDN (SAR ’10, SAR ’12) and Rachel Reynolds MS, RDN, LDN (SAR ’13).

During the nutrition course, students learn how to translate the latest nutrition guidelines into appealing food choices for health promotion and disease prevention.  Class discussions explore nutrition basics including carbohydrate, protein, fat, calories, vitamins, and minerals, as well as nutrition preferences such as vegetarianism.  Students also calculate their unique nutrition needs for individualized meal planning, and develop skills and strategies to implement a healthy lifestyle through interactive sessions and daily assignments. Each class attends 2 field trips, which vary from year to year. Past field trips include a scavenger hunt at the Copley Square Farmer’s Market, a guided exploration of the Boston Public Market, a healthy eating tour and food tasting at a Whole Foods store, and a visit to the Boston Medical Center Preventative Food Pantry.

The RDN instructors enjoy getting to know their students, and learning how media portrayals of nutrition messages are perceived by high school age individuals. Students of Summer Challenge find the information provided to be interesting, useful and relevant to their lives. One student explained that her nutrition course with Rachel Reynolds sparked her interest in the field of nutrition:

Thank you for an amazing two weeks! This was probably the most interesting class I have ever been able to take…I appreciate you making the class engaging and relatable to my life. It was great how everything we learned, we are able to apply to our own lives. I have already been able to use what I learned to talk to my family about nutrition. I think that this class also helped me realize I may want to study nutrition later on which I haven’t thought about before!…I would find on my walk back from class we would always be talking about what we just learned.’
– Summer Challenge Student

Another student felt that her nutrition course with Liz Treiber helped her to make better food choices:

‘I just left the Summer Challenge program yesterday and I wanted to thank you for taking your time to teach the Nutrition Seminar. I really enjoyed it and I know I’m going to use what I learned to help me make decisions about what I am consuming!!’
– Summer Challenge Student

One student’s parent felt that resources provided in her daughter’s nutrition course helped her make healthier choices as well:

‘I just wanted to thank you for being a great teacher for (my daughter’s) nutrition class. She truly enjoyed her 2 weeks at BU and especially your class.  She has been sharing all kinds of info that she learned with our family and friends.  I was looking over her red binder just this morning as I was doing my best to eat a healthy breakfast after my run.’
– Mother of Summer Challenge Student

To learn more about Summer Challenge at Boston University.