Coordinator of the Month: Maggie Baker
Name: Maggie Baker
Hometown: Lancaster, PA
College Attended / Major: Pennsylvania State University / Elementary Education
HealthCorps School Placement/State/City: West Mecklenburg High School / North Carolina / Charlotte
Fun Fact: I absolutely love to travel! My most memorable traveling experience was when my friend and I spent two weeks exploring the Grand Canyons, Las Vegas, and California, driving up the coast from San Diego to Napa Valley.
Layla Ronan: How did you become involved with HealthCorps?
Maggie Baker: It’s actually an extremely funny story. I was eating a bowl of Kashi cereal when I happened to glance at the back of the box. I saw an advertisement for a coordinator position through HealthCorps! I was in awe because I immediately thought that this job would be the perfect fit for me, especially since I was going through a confusing time in my life trying to determine the next step in my career. It has turned out to be a life-changing experience. Life is pretty amazing and unexpected opportunities arise when you least expect them.
LR: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
MB: So many highlights come to mind when reminiscing about my placement thus far; however, the best part has to be the special relationships I’ve developed with my students. The big moments of your career are certainly memorable and one’s you enjoy sharing with others, but when people ask me what I love most about my job, I tell them the daily conversations I have with these kids. Every one of the students is different in their own way so you can never predict the impactful life stories they’ll share with you. Yes, I teach these students about nutrition, fitness, and mental resilience and those subject matters are of utmost importance; however, trust, confidence, and character are several other qualities I try my best to instill in them to ultimately be strong leaders in their community and the greater world we live in today.
LR: Outside of the classroom, what are some of the activities that you are involved with?
MB: I facilitate the After School Cooking Club at West Meck. This is certainly one of the most successful HealthCorps programs at my school that I believe will sustain because of its high level of interest and participation. Students gain valuable skills and knowledge about cooking, while trying new foods and creating a healthy spin to their everyday recipes. Ms. Sease, a teacher at West Meck, is very involved with the cooking club and enjoys working with the students who attend every week. What makes me heart so happy is when students stop by my office every week asking what we’re planning on making during the next cooking club and sharing stories with me such as telling their parents and siblings what we’ve been making and actually going home and making the exact same recipe for their family. These students have grown into such strong, confident leaders who value the hard work, dedication, and repetitive practice it takes to cook. One of the members of cooking club has even started his own bakery business. I couldn’t be more proud of him and all he’s accomplished so far! He’s truly a remarkable student that I’m so thankful to have met.
LR: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?
MB: After my service with HealthCorps is complete, I plan on following my heart and pursuing a new career path in nutrition. I completed my Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University where I majored in Elementary Education; however, I decided to combine my love of teaching with health and nutrition. I’ve been working towards my Master’s degree in holistic/integrative nutrition and health online through Maryland University of Integrative Health. I strongly believe the holistic approach to nutrition is the key to preventing the multitude of diseases and illnesses Americans experience in today’s society and through this I hope to offer knowledge, experience, and passion for achieving ultimate health.
LR: What is one thing you have learned from your placement that you will be able to carry with you as you move forward in life?
MB: If I could sum up my experience from my placement at West Meck and being part of HealthCorps as a whole, while determining what I’ve learned and being able to carry it with me as I move forward in life it would be to trust the process, always stay true to who you are, and enjoy every present moment of life.
I’ve also learned that there is a large population of people who may not be equipped with the proper nutrition education. We need more health/nutrition educators teaching others and helping them make better lifestyle choices for themselves to reach their optimal health. I hope to carry these diverse experiences with me in my future career to continue to help me make a positive difference in the lives of others as well as grow both personally and professionally.
We want to thank Maggie Baker for her exceptional work and congratulate her for being this month’s coordinator of the month.
Photos from left to right: HealthCorps student displays his board, “Why Poop Matters.” Healthcorps Coordinator of the Month, Maggie Baker. Below: The after-school Cooking Club at West Mecklenburg High School.