Jessica Caouette ’06 credits Commonwealth Honors College for inspiring her to use her education to tackle one of the most urgent issues in America: childhood hunger. Caouette is a manager at Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters in Massachusetts, a national non-profit committed to ending childhood hunger in the United States. She is thrilled to use her expertise as a Registered Dietitian to educate families of the importance of good nutrition and healthy eating.
Caouette entered UMass as a pre-med major, unsure of what area of healthcare to pursue. She joined Commonwealth Honors College, and took the Intro to Nutrition honors course. Because of the smaller class size, she was able to work closely with her professor to delve deeply into the subject and to develop a connection with the professor that she might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do had the class been a large, lecture-style seminar. She appreciated the preventative approach of nutrition to overall health and chose Human Nutrition as a major.
After graduating in 2006, Caouette secured a one-year dietetic internship at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. She then pursued a Masters in Nutrition at Boston University. After working at the Worcester Head Start program and UMass Extension, she found her current job as the Central and Western Massachusetts Manager of Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Caouette's work is experiencing the “aha” moments with people when they recognize the link between food and the health and well-being of their families. She also appreciates being part of a nationwide effort to end childhood hunger, a cause that Caouette feels is overlooked, considering that one in five children in this country are at risk of hunger. She credits her education at UMass and Commonwealth Honors College for influencing her to choose a career that gives back to the community. “UMass and Commonwealth Honors College promote an altruistic philosophy amongst their students”, says Caouette. She adds, “my experiences and interactions with individuals at Commonwealth Honors College inspired me to choose a career path that paved the way to do more in my own community.”
Caouette recommends Commonwealth Honors College to students interested in exploring all that UMass has to offer. “Commonwealth Honors College will reveal opportunities that you might not find on your own; it can be difficult to navigate the large university setting. The community and support of the Commonwealth Honors College mirrors that of a small college atmosphere but offers a world full of opportunity found at a large university.”