Jacqueline Tang’s VRG Intern Experience

In the midst of COVID-19, I was searching the internet for volunteer opportunities. I happened to come across The Vegetarian Resource Group. I was immediately drawn to The VRG due to my interest in vegetarianism and veganism. I had just finished a class entitled Environment and Your Health. In this class we talked about the multitude of ways the environment directly and indirectly impacts your health and wellbeing. In one particular lecture, we discussed food and health. I remember a specific quote stating if everyone ate a vegetarian diet on Monday it would save the carbon dioxide equivalence of taking 5 million cars off the road. This figure immediately stood out to me and I kept on going back to this one fact months later.

     I was always
interested in vegetarianism and veganism but was not sure if I could take the
jump. After taking this class and moving back home from college early due to
the pandemic, I began exploring veganism and vegetarianism. My time and
research at The VRG allowed me to understand the importance of my individual
dietary choices. Ethics and environmental concerns drove me towards veganism.
Humans are all interconnected by our planet and eco-system. We cannot continue
trashing our planet with waste and toxic gases. I believe veganism is the
future and one way to help alleviate climate change. I am grateful to have been
able to explore veganism further at The VRG. As a public health major,
pre-medicine student, and a personal trainer/group fitness instructor at Johns
Hopkins, I understand the importance of health. I hope to educate others about
the benefits of veganism for their individual health and the eco-system.

     During my time at
The VRG, I was able to assist on a number of projects. I worked with Reed
Mangels, PhD, RD on an article about creatine use for vegetarians and vegans.
This article allowed me to further understand the dietary needs of vegans. I
was grateful to have been able to work on my writing skills during this
project. I also worked on the noodle project alongside fellow interns. We
researched whether the crispy noodles in Chinese restaurants are vegan.  This project allowed me to closely work with
fellow interns. It made me feel connected to this virtual internship. I also
wrote restaurant reviews for VRG’s online guide: vrg.org/restaurant/index.php.
These were so fun to write! I want to visit all these places in the future.
Finally, with Jeanne Yacoubou, I worked on researching the risk of a viral
pandemic from factory farms vs. wet markets. This project was challenging, yet
informative. I was able to put my research skills learned at Hopkins to the
test. It was exciting to research something that has present-day impact.

     I have enjoyed my time at The VRG and hope to apply what I have learned to future endeavors. Later on, I would like to further study the intersection of health, dietary choices, and well-being. I also hope to educate my future patients about the benefits of vegetarianism and veganism on their health.

For more information about VRG internships, visit vrg.org/student/index.php

To support VRG internships, donate at vrg.org/donate