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Unexpected path leads to unexpected passion

Gabriella Hohman

Name: Gabriella Hohman
Degree: BS in Public Health
Graduation Date: 2022
Job Title: Program Manager at the Food Literacy Project

When Gabriella Hohman started her college career at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, she wasn’t sure what path she wanted to take. After many career counseling sessions, a couple of job interest quizzes, and some shadowing, she landed on Dental Hygiene. Hohman’s next steps were: (1) Move to Louisville, (2) Complete her last prerequisite course at Jefferson Community and Technical College, and (3) Submit an application to transfer into UofL’s dental hygiene program.

However, plans didn’t work out as expected. Hohman explains, “Unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut for the dental hygiene program that semester and was told to reapply next year. Instead, I took this hiccup in my big plan as a sign and began to reevaluate my career interests all over again.”

Hohman set up an exploratory session with a UofL advisor. They reviewed her transcript and identified what other programs aligned with the courses she had already taken. “This session sparked an interest I didn’t even know I had,” Hohman said, and in fall 2020 she began taking public health courses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As she continued taking classes, Hohman discovered the complexities of the public health field. “Prior to diving into my degree at UofL, I mainly thought of epidemiology and the work of the CDC when thinking of public health. It wasn’t until taking the required courses that I learned how extensive the different pathways of public health are and began cultivating interests in the various realms.” Broad topics that she found particularly interesting were social determinants of health, the U.S. healthcare delivery systems, global and environmental health, and maternal-related health.

For Hohman, completing her capstone internship led to her current paid position at the Food Literacy Project. “This opportunity not only gave me some of the experience needed to be able to take on my role but [also] gave me an important push out of my comfort zone and towards an interest in food systems and food justice that I didn’t know I had.”

Her daily responsibilities as program manager at the Food Literacy Project differ and change with the seasons; however, she is primarily responsible for the planning and implementation of our Youth Community Agriculture Program (YCAP), an employment and development program for youth ages 15-21.

She works a hybrid-style schedule where most planning, preparation, and meetings are done at home with program days happening in person at different locations. “The bulk of my time with YCAP has taken place in the Shawnee neighborhood of Louisville at an urban farm and community garden for the past two years where we grow, harvest, and distribute veggies as well as dig into community through activities and outreach.”

For those who are about to graduate in a few short months, Hohman offered the following advice: “Try not to catch a case of Senioritis! It’s super easy to lose some motivation or energy when coming to the end of a long journey but the finish is just as important as the start! Show up to class and do the assignments because some of my most impactful learning happened in my last two semesters.”

As for those who are just beginning their public health journeys, Hohman encourages you to “explore your interests no matter how small they may be and try to approach every day with an open mind. You might be surprised by where an interest can take you!”

She also encourages students to stay connected to the university, classmates, and professors as these connections can lead to opportunities down the line.

If you want to connect with Hohman, during the summer months, you can find Hohman and some of the YCAP crew members set up at the Shively Farmers and Artisans Market distributing what they’ve grown. Learn more about the Food Literacy Project and follow them on Facebook or Instagram @foodlitproj_lou.

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