CHIP Intern McKenzie Liegel Helps Improve Local Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among WIC Participants in Juneau and Adams Counties

By: Megan Hakes, AHEC statewide communications assistant

MAUSTON- Through her CHIP internship with the Juneau/Adams WIC program, UW-Madison graduate McKenzie Liegel realized her interest in food insecurity and childhood nutrition. Now looking into food distribution methods in Tennessee through AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), Liegel is grateful for the related experiences she had through her CHIP internship.

While interning, Liegel developed surveys, interviewed WIC clients, found simple, healthy, WIC-friendly recipes, held food demonstrations and created handouts about picking out and cooking produce. When Liegel was not working on the WIC program, she shadowed a Community Health Educator and an Environmental Health Specialist.

“I saw first-hand that being a caring person can really make a difference in someone’s life,” said Liegel. “The ladies that I worked with at WIC were upbeat, caring and always smiling, no matter who the client was. Their positive attitudes rubbed off on the clients, and the clients, who were not always going through the best times in their lives, opened up to the WIC team and had a group of support.”

Liegel applied for the internship in Mauston because she grew up in a similarly small town, liked the program’s goal of making a difference in Wisconsin, and had “fallen in love with how passionate small communities are about their way of life.” Her placement in Juneau and Adams Counties was perfect for her interest in small, rural communities.

“My time as a CHIP intern helped me realize I want to do research and public outreach with rural communities,” said Liegel. “CHIP is a great experience to learn about different public health programs throughout the state of Wisconsin, and I built strong connections and formed relationships that will help me in the future.”

Liegel is currently applying to graduate schools to get her Master’s in Public Health-Community Health Education.