In January, Gina Tripicchio, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, presented “You Are What You Eat: Basics of Nutrition and Approaches for Healthy Growth and Development” to high school sophomores in the Franklin Institute’s STEM Scholars program. The program aims to increase the number of Philadelphia students admitted to college to pursue majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Teaching about nutrition, making complicated concepts easy for people to understand, and sharing knowledge that can be used to create healthier lifestyles has always been a highlight of my work,” said Tripicchio, who worked as a science teacher before studying nutrition in graduate school.
In the presentation, Tripicchio and CPH research assistants Courtney Bradshaw, Carolyn Bresnahan, Hana Davis, Briela Lugo and Olivia Vesey set up five lab stations, which focused on different strategies to help improve nutrition behaviors: “Try something new,” “Eat breakfast every day,” “Drink more water,” “Snack smart,” and “Eat balanced meals.”
Each station offered a different activity, recipe or challenge, like designing a balanced meal from a fast food menu. At the “Try something new” station, for instance, students tested a variety of milk beverages, such as almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk, and compared the calcium content to regular milk.
“The STEM scholars asked very insightful questions and a few of them came up to us at the end and said they learned a lot and had a great time,” Tripicchio said. “They were engaged through all of the activities and came up with really creative solutions to some of the problems we presented.”