Sarah Black is on a mission to spread the word about food — more specifically, nutrition. As she says, “It is a key component to health and wellness management in our daily lives.” And from day one at UGA, she’s been able to prepare for her professional future, with some dancing along the way.
Decatur High School
B.S.F.C.S. in Dietetics and B.S.F.C.S. in Consumer Foods, minor in Dance
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
My path at the University of Georgia would have been drastically different had I not made the conscious decision to become involved from the moment I stepped foot on campus. I became a member of the Student Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (SAFCS) during the fall of my freshman year and I have had the pleasure of serving on the executive board for the past four years. My positions have included director of service, director of finance, assistant director, and I am currently serving as our executive director. I can confidently say that this organization was the catalyst for my involvement at UGA; nearly every opportunity I have been blessed with has resulted from my connections to SAFCS. Events and community service I have helped organize and participated in with SAFCS include Relay for Life, Operation Christmas Child, creating “Back to School” Goody Bags for the Thomas Lay After School Program, FACS Field Day, our annual Dawson Hall Pageant, making “Cardz for Kidz,” national Family and Consumer Sciences Dine-In Day, attending the annual state conferences for the Georgia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (GAFCS), and our annual End of Year Banquet, to name a few. During my fifth and final year of college I have had the amazing experience of serving as an ambassador for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Being a member of this group has allowed me to share with prospective students the reasons why I am passionate about FACS and the opportunities available to all FACS students.
I became a member of the national Family and Consumer Sciences organization the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) during my freshman year and attended the annual conference and expo over the summer in Houston. My SAFCS advisor encouraged me to become a student member and attend the conference, and this led to my continued involvement to this day. Through becoming a member of AAFCS I have attended the annual conference in various locations such as St. Louis, Jacksonville, Seattle/Bellevue, and I will be attending the upcoming conference in Dallas this summer. I am so grateful to the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Georgia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences for financially supporting my attendance to these conferences and encouraging me to stay involved with AAFCS after I graduate.
During my sophomore year I was nominated by my SAFCS advisor and the College of FACS to attend the AAFCS-sponsored “Leadership Bootcamp” over the summer in Washington, D.C. While at this intensive leadership development training I made lifelong friends and became aware of the opportunity to serve as a national AAFCS student unit officer. Last year I served as the first vice chair, and I am currently serving as the chair of the student unit. It has been an extremely rewarding to use my leadership skills at the national level and to plan student events for the conferences each summer, as well as annual service projects that any student unit chapter across the United States can complete.
During my junior year I was a part of a group called the Peer Nutrition Educators (PNE). This program served as the dietetic practicum required for my dietetics major and gave me incredible insight on how to teach nutrition concepts at an easily understood peer level. We trained under the supervision of Registered Dietitians Katherine Ingerson and Ben Gray in a course over the summer and completed over 40 hours of presentations and events by the end of the year. As a PNE I gave MyPlate presentations to UGA organizations and clubs, held tabling events around campus, planned events for March National Nutrition Month, and represented the University Health Center and Food Services in a positive manner throughout the year. Through my work with Ben Gray, I approached him to ask if he would facilitate an internship for me by allowing me to work with him in teaching healthy cooking classes in the Nutrition Kitchen at the Health Center. He agreed to mentor me, and with my consumer foods major I was able to design my own internship for three credit hours to complete over 120 hours of cooking classes and other activities, a significant increase from the previous year. In this internship I assisted with weekly cooking classes, demonstrated correct cooking techniques, taught nutrition aspects applicable to recipes of the class for the day, and as the capstone for the course I designed and taught full cooking classes without assistance.
I was an active member of Kappa Delta Sorority for four years of my undergraduate career and I am currently a member of an alumnae chapter. During my time in Kappa Delta I had the opportunity to serve in various roles including alumni relations chair, Mom’s Club liaison for National Panhellenic Recruitment, and as a representative for my pledge class on the bylaw committee. I will cherish the friendships I have made through Kappa Delta for the rest of my life and I aim to follow our open motto, “Let us strive for that which is honorable, beautiful, and highest.”
I have been dancing since I was 3 and I officially completed my dance minor in the fall of 2016. Although I do not have plans to dance professionally, I am so thankful to attend a university where I have been able to grow in my artistry and enrich my technique with supplemental theory classes such as dance pedagogy and world dance history. Having a double major and a minor means that I have taken a large course load every semester, but having this variety of courses in my college career has allowed me to exercise my kinesthetic and artistic intelligence alongside my more cerebral studies. I believe that proper nutrition and physical fitness go hand in hand, and having this minor reflects my personal philosophy.
Family Ties to UGA:
Both of my parents are Dawgs! My Mom has a B.S. in FACS education and a master’s in FACS education from UGA. My Dad has a B.S. in agricultural engineering from UGA and my Papa, Clanton C. Black Jr., was a Regents Professor and research scientist at UGA for 44 years in the biochemistry department. He was still working at UGA at the time of his passing.
I chose to attend UGA because…
I was a member of the student organization Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) from sixth through 12th grade. During my time in this incredible organization I discovered that my passion was in the field of family and consumer sciences, specifically in the area of foods and nutrition. I completed the culinary arts career tech pathway while I was in high school and strongly considered going to culinary school to become a chef, but ultimately I decided while I was in high school that I wanted to attend UGA as a student in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences with a major in the department of foods and nutrition. You could say that I was destined for my path!
My favorite things to do on campus are…
… walk through the Trial Gardens and all over South Campus to enjoy the beautiful landscaping. I love that so many of the plants I see have markers to identify them for my own edification and I appreciate the continual effort it must take to keep our campus beautiful.
When I have free time, I like…
… cooking, baking, creating new recipes, taking dance classes, gardening and reading novels. I can read two to three books per day if I am uninterrupted!
The craziest thing I've done is…
During Thanksgiving break of my sophomore year my family drove to Virginia for the holiday. Late on Friday evening before the UGA vs. Georgia Tech game the next day, our family friend called us and said we could have their tickets if we wanted them. The problem was, we were nowhere near the game! We drove eight hours through the middle of the night to go to the game at Tech, and UGA won 41-34 in overtime. We were deliriously tired but it was so worth it.
My favorite place to study is…
… the third floor of the science library or anywhere in Dawson Hall. I find the atmosphere of Dawson to be very soothing and conducive to studying.
My favorite professor is…
Although I have had numerous incredible professors at UGA, I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes with Dr. Ginnefer Cox. She is very engaging with students, willing to explain any subject of confusion in great detail, and it is evident that she is dedicated to enriching her students’ education with knowledge from her own professional experiences.
Despite the fact that she is not a professor, I would not be where I am today without my advisor, Beverly Hull. She has expertise in the requirements for both of my majors and has been especially accommodating with arranging my schedule each semester so that I could complete my dance minor.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
… my Papa now that I am attending UGA. He passed away during my senior year of high school so I was unable to share my college experiences with him, both the good and the bad. I would love to be able to examine the most recent climate changes that are affecting our environment like the acidification of the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the places he visited to complete botany research. I have a small jar with shells from one of those trips that I keep on my desk to remind me of him.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
… compete in every cooking competition possible! I enjoy cooking for relaxation as well as for the thrill of perfecting a dish to my own standards. My senior superlative for my sorority was “Most Likely to Win Chopped,” which is very fitting for me.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
… travel to every country and learn how to make the cuisine found there, while also studying the different types of dance found throughout the world. In turn I would love to share my knowledge of nutrition with everyone I meet from around the globe and incorporate those healthy concepts with traditionally used culinary practices of whatever country I am currently in.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion can be summed up in one word: food. I have always enjoyed cooking, but when I reflect on my life I can now see that I was preparing myself for the field I love and the career I’ve chosen even before I began at UGA. I consider myself a tenacious person, and with every subsequent year of college I have eagerly taken on new roles in my organizations and joined new ones when possible. Studying nutrition has allowed me to appreciate food on a completely different level; food is not only a source of energy for your body or just a delicious meal, it is a key component to health and wellness management in our daily lives. Food is universal, everyone eats. Through becoming an active student leader both at UGA and in my national organization, I am able to share my nutrition knowledge with a far greater amount of people and make professional connections that can potentially lead to career opportunities in the future.
After graduation, I plan to…
… become a registered dietitian and I would like to get my master’s in public health because of my interest in community wellness. My ultimate goal is to become a school nutrition director and to continue to educate those in need on the importance of good nutrition as preventive medicine. I fully plan on remaining a member of AAFCS during my professional career so that I can be recognized as a 50+ year member when I am 68 years old. It may seem like a lifetime away, but my entire life has been blessed by membership with family and consumer sciences organizations.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
During my freshman year I decided to stop by my family’s seats in our season ticket section during a football game. I happened to meet the little boy who sits in front of our seats with his Dad for nearly every football game. He was only 6 years old at the time and absolutely adorable! Every year I have looked forward to stopping by to see my “football boyfriend” on UGA game days and watching him grow up. He says he wants to be a Dawg one day, too!