Hometown: Gibraltar, Michigan
Major: Public Health Education
College: The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions
Graduated: May 2021
Job Title: Garden to Early Childhood Education Intern at Baxter Community Center in Grand Rapids
McKenna Wietecha believes what you consume matters. From the food you eat to the education of why you should eat certain things, the Gibraltar senior has always been interested in how food affects your health and well-being.
Naturally, Central Michigan University was a solid choice for this soon-to-be alumna.
“I chose CMU because originally I was going for dietetics,” she said. “I had heard that CMU has a great program and my friend from my high school swim team was in the program.”
After starting classes, though, McKenna found her passion lies in educating people about how the foods you eat affect you.
“What I really found out was that I want to help heal people through all avenues, both with personal health and community health,” she said.
When a friend mentioned they were switching majors to public health education, McKenna’s interest was piqued. The combination of personal health and community health was right there. She just had to jump in.
Now, she’s interning with the Baxter Community Center in Grand Rapids, teaching young kids how to create good eating habits and even grow food of their own. Getting her hands dirty every day in the garden she’s planted with them is just a bonus for her.
“It’s really rewarding to see the kids grow and learn, particularly from my interest,” McKenna said. “It’s awesome to see them ask questions about what I’m teaching them.”
McKenna plans to stick with the community garden at Baxter until her internship ends in August. She’s excited to see what opportunities come up to continue combining her love of education and health, even if she doesn’t know what those are yet.
“Don’t be afraid to try and take your own path,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to do something different from your friends and family. You can carve your own path. It’s your life.”