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Bloomfield grad picks up some health and human services tips at local Extension office

Monday, February 6, 2012

Indiana State University student Kayla Hendrix (center), from Bloomfield, poses with her Greene County Extension Service office internship mentors, Tammy Steiner (at left) and Polly Gettinger (at right). Steiner and Gettinger are Extension Service educators at the Greene County office.
(Submitted photo)
SWITZ CITY -- A 20-year-old Indiana State University student from Bloomfield recently spent several days assisting in the Greene County Cooperative Extension Service office near Switz City.

She learned about the health and human services role the office plays in the local community.

Kayla Hendrix, who was the 2009 Bloomfield Junior-Senior High School class valedictorian and now a junior at ISU majoring in dietetics, worked closely with Extension Service Educators Polly Gettinger and Tammy Steiner in her mini internship.

The internship was part of her spring semester class rotation, which focuses on lifecycle and community nutrition.

"We are doing our internship rotations at different agencies throughout the community, trying to gain experience with different age groups as well. My time at the Greene County Extension office was spent trying to learn more about the Health and Human Sciences division of the Purdue Cooperative Extension," Hendrix said. "I spent most of my time with Polly Gettinger, the Health and Human Sciences educator. Polly was wonderful. She introduced me to several different agencies and organizations throughout the county."

During her time at the Extension Service office, Hendrix attended a meeting of the Greene County Alliance for Networking and Growth; toured Open Arms Christian Ministries; attended a meeting at the Home Healthcare office; and went on a home visit for the Family Nutrition Program.

Over Christmas break she attended and gave a presentation at the 4-H Junior Leader's Iron Chef competition in Sullivan.

"While I was working at the Extension office, I wrote six newsletters for the Family Nutrition Program, and I also devised four lesson plans for Tammy (Steiner), the 4-H educator, to use with the Mini 4-Hers this summer. I had a lot of fun with this one, so I encourage the kids to participate," she said.

Prior to attending ISU, Hendrix -- the 20-year-old daughter Tim and Melinda Hendrix of Bloomfield -- went to Vincennes University for two years where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

"I'm not sure exactly what my career goals are just yet, but I think probably something in the nutrition management/business area," she commented. "I am interested in food and nutrition for many reasons. Most importantly, I love to cook! I think it is so fascinating the effect that food can have on our bodies, both in a negative and positive way. There is so much to learn; there is always new information and new studies. The nutrition field is never boring. What makes nutrition so important is its interconnection with our health and the way we feel."

Hendrix said the experience she gathered at the Extension Office was very helpful to her and she appreciates the hospitality she was shown.

"I had such a great experience at the Extension office. Polly went out of her way to make sure I had diverse opportunities while I was there, and I certainly learned a lot about Greene County in the process. Polly, Tammy, Sharon (Schneider), and Linda (Tiek) are wonderful women, and they were so welcoming to me. I really appreciate their willingness to take me in for a while, and I hope they were able to benefit as much from my being there as I did."

Hendrix said she learned much during the internship that will benefit her future career.

"It's easy to get caught up in my own rosy little world sometimes, as bad as that sounds. Being at the Extension office and actually getting to see people with different life experiences than my own was very valuable to me. I know this experience will stick with me throughout my career," she said. "I am proud to call Greene County my home, and I am grateful for all the support I get from my family, my friends, and my community. I hope one day, when I do have an established career, I can give back to the area that has given me so much."

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