Make The Connection

Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘Short Food Supply Chains in Italy and the United States’

July 2, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Sara Scinto ’16

Learn how OWU’s many academic, research, and travel-learning programs prepare students for leadership and global citizenship and help them … Make the Connection.

Ohio Wesleyan faculty member Christopher Fink (left) and students Sara Scinto ’16 and Nathan Madonich ’16 traveled to Italy as part of a Theory-to-Practice Grant trip to explore food chains. (Photo courtesy of Sara Scinto ’16)

Name: Nathan Madonich’16
Major: Botany
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: San Bruno, California
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘An Exploration of the Structure, Dynamics, and Impact on Quality of Life of Selected Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) in Italy and the United States,’ March 2015

Nathan Madonich’16

Lessons Learned:

“I’m interested in working on projects involving plant health, nutrition, and how these factors influence human health and our agricultural system. I eventually intend to pursue a graduate degree in plant physiology/biology.

“Our group’s project and research question allowed us to examine complex global issues regarding food production distribution and its relation to human health. We examined this question from both the perspective of the producer and consumer of the food, as well as across a cultural context through the comparison of models in the United States and Italy. Our background research and interviews with groups in the United States revealed the challenges that smaller farms face on a daily basis. The travel to Perugia, Italy, was eye-opening because it allowed our group to connect the academic concepts and terms we had read in the literature and observe them as they exposed themselves to us at the different models of short food supply chains that we visited.

“Individually, the experience allowed me to see the lives of others across a different cultural context in terms of everyday activities such as meals or interacting with people you meet. … This trip allowed me to grow personally and academically, and expanded my knowledge of the opportunities and possibilities that exist after graduation to pursue similar research. I felt that the Theory-to-Practice Grant exposed me to new concepts and ways of thinking while also bringing familiar academic concepts full circle.”

Name: Sara Scinto ’16
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Mentor, Ohio
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘An Exploration of the Structure, Dynamics, and Impact on Quality of Life of Selected Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) in Italy and the United States,’ March 2015

Sara Scinto ’16

Lessons Learned:

“I am looking to pursue a graduate degree in nutrition or nutrition science after undergrad at OWU.

“Through this project, we were able to explore a concept learned in the classroom not only first-hand, but across cultures, which was extremely interesting. In my opinion, examining a thesis, idea, or theory cross-culturally is something that students should highly consider because it allows them to think about the bigger picture and how their project relates to the rest of the world.

“With ever increasing globalization, thinking globally is an important and valuable skill. Studying abroad, even for a short amount of time, is a slightly overwhelming but amazing learning experience. Even if you know the language relatively well, learning to communicate, get through daily life, and solve problems is difficult in a foreign country, but it does wonders for your communication and problem-solving skills. …

“I made connections during the project that will assist me for the rest of my life and may provide me even more opportunities down the road. I was able to really develop my relationship with our faculty mentor, Dr. (Christopher) Fink. … I know that he will always have my back if ever I need advice or assistance with my future academic endeavors. I also have a few contacts abroad that I will be able to work with if I return to Italy during graduate work or (to) pursue a career.

“In summary, my Theory-to-Practice Grant experience not only accorded me the ability to apply the knowledge learned in class first-hand and allowed me to travel to an amazing location, but it gave me diversity of thought and reason to formulate new ideas and career goals.”