For more than 30 years, the School Nutrition Foundation has been raising funds to provide SNA members with the opportunity to achieve their higher education goals through a wide variety of scholarships. To date, SNF has awarded members over $2 million in scholarship funds. In our SNF Scholarship Series we will be aiming the spotlight at some of our scholarship winners and sharing their stories with you, including excerpts from their application essays and follow-up interviews.
Erin Thacker is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with the Chesapeake Public School system in Chesapeake, Virginia. In her scholarship application to SNF, Thacker wrote:
I continue to learn and set new goals for myself because lifelong learning is the key to excellence. One day you might find me planning a special diet menu, the next meeting with a parent or nurse, teaching a nutrition class, or marketing programs.
This degree program emphasizes financial management as well as best practices in policy, human resources, leadership, and organizational management.
We recently sat down with Erin to discuss the SNF scholarship application process, and to find out more about how her Master’s degree in Management—with a concentration in Public Administration—is helping her achieve personal and professional goals.
Erin completed her degree just last month and was quick to give her district director credit for pointing her toward SNF scholarship resources. “Mrs. Joanne Kinsey suggested that, as a member of SNA, I should apply for an SNF scholarship to go back to school. I went online, did the research, and applied! I hope my master’s in management will help me in my future career.” With an eye toward a supervisory or directorship position, Erin says that the financial support her scholarship provided was absolutely essential in her journey to go back to school. “I had a baby in September, and if it weren’t for that scholarship pushing me to finish my degree, it would have taken me much longer—knowing that I had that support really pushed me.”
A passion for nutrition education drives Erin in her pursuits on the job, and in school. Taking advantage of as many funding opportunities as possible is the key to expanding community support, while also securing healthy food for school meals. “I think [nutrition education] is important for both students, and their families. I want to continue to work on that, and I think nutrition education should always be part of a school nutrition program.” For example, Chesapeake schools have received a great deal of positive feedback and support surrounding their USDA Farm-to-School grant—a trend Thacker would like to see continue. “Farm-to-school grants are a great thing for school nutrition, and they provide an opportunity to develop and build on the positive things happening in [school cafeterias] today.”
You can help SNA members achieve their educational goals by supporting the School Nutrition Foundation; click here to make a donation.