Supporter Spotlight: Carolyn Sutter

This fall, we’re continuing to highlight the incredible folx who support Pilot Light with their time and energy on our Advisory, Development, and Young Professional Boards! We are so grateful for their dedication and passion for food education day in and day out!

Featured today on our Feeding Minds Blog is Carolyn Sutter of our Young Professionals Board (YPB), and I’ll pass it over to her to kick us off!

Tell us a little bit about your background and journey with Pilot Light:

I am originally from California, which is where I developed my love of food and the ways it can bring us together and help us learn about each other. My career training and background are in child development, which was the focus of both my masters and PhD degrees. I am a researcher at heart, and have worked with many community-based programs, schools, and organizations to conduct research related to how individuals and families make decisions in their daily lives, in particular related to their health and nutrition.

Currently I work as a Senior Research Associate for Clinical Outcomes Solutions. What I would like people to know about Pilot Light’s work is how dedicated they are to the communities that they work with, and how this dedication is making a difference. And that’s not just anecdotal evidence, I know that the data they collect in their program shows this because I have helped them analyze it! I also see this dedication through my interactions with all the awesome Pilot Light staff and fellow YPB members.

When did you first get involved with Pilot Light? 

I was immediately drawn to Pilot Light when I moved to Illinois in 2017 because of their important work supporting children, schools, and communities through food education. I’ve been involved with the YPB ever since, and have also helped with some research over the years.

What is a favorite food or childhood food memory? 

A favorite food memory of mine is eating the cheesecake my mom makes every year for Christmas, especially when I was little and my brother and I got to “help” by licking the beaters from her hand mixer. It isn’t a family Christmas now without her cheesecake!

What is your favorite Pilot Light Food Education Standard

It’s hard to choose because I think all the standards are great (I was fortunate enough to attend the PL Food Education Summit when the standards were developed). But I think my favorite PL food education standard is #4- “Food behaviors are influenced by external and internal factors” because I think it captures the complexity that comes with food choices and eating behaviors. Pilot Light takes great care in providing food education with nuance, that supports children and all the many factors that impact what they eat and how they feel about food. I think everyone could benefit from learning more about this standard!

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