Shirley Martinat is the Assistant Food Service Director of the Homedale School District in Idaho, and relatively new to her School Nutrition Association membership, having just joined at the end of the last school year. She applied for and received a First Timers scholarship that allowed her to travel to Salt Lake City for SNA’s 2015 Annual National Conference. We recently sat down to chat with Shirley about her scholarship, and her first national conference experience.
“I’ve been working in school foodservice for six years now, and I just joined SNA at the end of last year,” explained Shirley by telephone. “ANC was my first school nutrition conference, and it was fun—it was huge! There was a lot of education, and it was fun to meet and be around different people from all across the nation. It was a good experience.”
Shirley and the rest of the Homedale Food Service department oversee three schools—an elementary, a middle, and a high school. They recently started a breakfast-in-the-classroom program that is showing promise in its early stages, and Homedale is also incorporating more farm-to-school foods on their menu. Of the many education sessions she attended at ANC, Martinat points to her session on social media marketing as being one with the most impact.
“One of the classes we attended was about using marketing—Facebook, and other social media—and we learned a lot. We haven’t gotten to [start] yet, but it’s on our list—to get more education, and more involvement with parents, students, and staff. We’re slowly implementing what we can.”
Shirley was grateful to win the First Timers scholarship, as it helped her to offset travel costs to attend the Annual National Conference. After her director filled out the application on her behalf, and they found out she won, she was excited to travel to her first national conference.
“I just became a new member before we went to the conference, so ANC was my first real experience,” explained Shirley, who says the trip inspired her to continue to leverage her SNA membership. “I plan to stay involved. It’s nice to stay educated on what is happening in foodservice programs across the nation, as well as locally.”
Are you an SNA member interested in learning more about scholarship opportunities through SNA and SNF? Visit our SNA awards and scholarships page for more information!