Interns create healthful space through nutrition and plants


Lauren Martin

Lauren Martin, left, was a nutrition intern working with Marcy Bowman, right, health coach dietitian at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health Systems.Photo by Tobie Blanchard 

At the Baton Rouge headquarters of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health Systems two LSU College of Agriculture students in different majors worked to create a healthful environment for the systems’ employees and the public.
Lauren Martin, who was a senior studying nutrition and food sciences during the time of the internship, worked with FMOLHS’s corporate wellness program, Healthy Lives. She was tasked with starting a nutrition-focused guided grocery store tour program aimed at helping people make better choices while shopping for food.
Kaylee Deynzer, a junior studying plant and soil system, took a plot of land at the headquarters and turned into a thriving garden as part of her work.  
Pete Guarisco, vice president of mission with FMOL said he wanted to build a partnership with the LSU College of Agriculture through gardening and nutrition education internships.
“The hope was that we gain from them, and they gain from us,” Pete Guarisco
Both interns were creating new programs and learning as they went.
“I’ve never had this much autonomy in a job,” Martin said.
Martin said she is passionate about food and helping people, and this internship allowed her to explore that passion in direct and indirect ways.
Martin developed content for the grocery store tours, collaborated with the stores to set up the tours, worked on how to lead the tours and recruited people for the tours.
Martin also worked with the organization’s Farm to Work program, which allowed employees to sign up for produce boxes delivered to their offices. She developed nutrition facts and recipe cards to go along with the boxes.
She really helped us execute projects that we wouldn’t be able to accomplish without the extra set of hands,” said Marcy Bowman, a registered dietitian with FMOLHS. “Her fresh new perspective was a gift for us.”
Martin said strong communications, time management and knowing your owns skills and the skills of her colleagues were important to the job.
She said she thrived in the family atmosphere at FMOLHS and felt supported in her work.
Kayle Deynzer

Kaylee Deynzer stands near raised beds she planted with vegetables at the headquarters of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health Systems. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

“To realize that this is about the people we serve really helped center me on my most hectic days,” Martin said.
Martin graduated in May and will attend Oregon Health and Sciences University for their Master of Science and Dietetic Internship program.
Deynzer wanted to create a peaceful spot for employees while also creating a bountiful harvest.
“The main issue was getting soil up to par,” Deynzer said of the land she gardens.
Deynzer organized a volunteer workday where FMOLHS employees came out and helped work in the garden. She planted bush beans, tomatoes, peppers, purple bell peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini.
Deynzer plans to put the harvest in four locations where FMOLHS employees can help themselves to the fresh produce.
“It’s nice to teach people who don’t know as much about gardening,” she said.
Deynzer said she is interested in local food systems and sustainability, and would like to work in with student-run farms or in gardening education after graduation.
She said the work she did fit with the mission of FMOLHS.
“St. Francis loved to garden,” she said. “It was part of his ministry.”