Coordinator of the Month: Robin Joseph
Name: Robin Joseph
Hometown: Compton, California
College Attended / Major:
Undergraduate — University of California Davis / Environmental Toxicology
Graduate — Loma Linda University School of Public Health / Environmental and Occupational Health
HealthCorps School Placement: Garinger High School in Charlotte, North Carolina
Fun Fact: In 2004, I auditioned for American Idol.
Jeffrey Hartinger: How did you become involved with HealthCorps?
Robin Joseph: I found out about HealthCorps from Jessica Anders, the Educational Program Manager of the organization, while attending the Green Schools National Conference. We began discussing HealthCorps; its mission, vision and the coordinator role in the organization. After this conversation and several others with family members and friends, I knew that I would be perfect for this position. The more work I do, the more I see how my passion for health and wellness align perfectly with the mission of HealthCorps.
JH: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
RJ: The highlight of my placement has been seeing students transition to healthier behaviors. Students continually tell me about the new fruit they tried or the healthy alternative they influenced their parents to purchase. Hearing these stories is the best return on my investment.
The other highlight of my time here at Garinger is the staff pedometer competition. Staff has really gotten into the competition. They love to show me their pedometer with the amount of steps they have taken. They also enjoy coming to after-school staff workouts for extra steps.
JH: Outside of the classroom, what are some of the activities that you are involved with?
RJ: For the students, I (Robin Joseph) am involved with many after school clubs such as the Environmental Justice Club, Gardening Club, Garinger Gospel Choir, HealthCorps Ambassador, and Girls Group. In an effort to increase school spirit and develop individual self esteem, I am conducting the first ever Garinger Idol, an American Idol spin off. Through this event, Garinger students have the opportunity to showcase their vocal skills, and be crowned the first ever 2013/2014 Garinger Idol. I am also working with the Garden staff to bring taste testing for my monthly lunch time demonstrations. The first topic will be:
Which egg tastes better, free range chicken or store brought eggs?
For the staff, I am involved with the Staff Wellness Council. We are currently running a staff pedometer competition in which staff track the number of steps taken each day over a three-week period. I am also holding weekly workout events which are lead by current staff members such as Yoga, Samba, Capoeira, Weight Training, and Group Walk/Run on the school track. These events are utilizing Garinger staff members to teach other staff members in an effort to make HealthCorps initiative sustainable. I am also planning a staff appreciation breakfast for all the staff who participated in the pedometer competition.
Within the community, I work with students who are known as organization ambassadors to do community outreach through visitation at the nearby nursing home. The students, staff and I recently worked in the school community garden for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
I am also managing two grants; Whole Foods Grant for the school garden and NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant to increase student breakfast consumption and physical activity.
JH: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?
RJ: I have many professional and personal goals after my tenure with HealthCorps.
Professionally, I plan to pursue a PhD in Community Health Science. A PhD would allow me the opportunity to teach community outreach skills to undergraduate and graduate students and utilize the teaching techniques and community engagement tools I have learned while at HealthCorps. I also plan on taking the Certified in Public Health and Registered Environmental Health Specialist professional certification exams to solidify myself as a public health professional.
Personally, I will delineate more time to the creative arts by developing my painting, photography and creative writing skills. I am also considering completing a Yoga teacher certification.
JH: 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?
RJ: One thing I have learned from my placement is compassion, kindness, and honesty aids in advancing the health of the nation. Everyone is searching for someone to take a true interest in their overall well-being and HealthCorps Coordinators do, by being mentors, confidants, and for some health specialist.
We want to thank Robin Joseph for her exceptional work and congratulate her for being this month’s coordinator of the month.