Spartan Showcase: Josie Shiff

Year: Class of 2022
Major: Nutrition

Photo of Josie Shiff

When Josie Shiff, a fourth-year student majoring in nutrition through the Integrated Graduate Studies program, first heard about Case Western Reserve University’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network, she knew she had to join. She felt a strong pull toward the organization’s mission to help reduce food insecurity, saying “I couldn’t not be involved.”

This mission—which also drives Hunger Action Month each September—has kept Schiff involved all four years at CWRU. In her first year, she immediately dug into the group’s work, helping the campus branch of the national organization redirect uneaten food from university dining facilities to partner agencies that in turn give the food to those in need in the local community. 

“While [food insecurity] is a large and complex issue in Cleveland and across the country, it feels great to be able to take actionable steps to help [locally] and to work with students at campuses across the country to do the same in their own communities,” she said. “I understand that at CWRU we are very lucky to have fresh, nutritious food all around us and I am so glad to be able to spread that food beyond our campus.”

Shiff, now president of the CWRU chapter of the Food Recovery Network, is serving on the executive board for her third year, after having filled the roles of dining hall coordinator and partner coordinator.

Her time volunteering with the organization directly relates to her studies in nutrition, which she decided to pursue after taking a class as a first-year student.

“My nutrition studies have only served to illuminate how important it is to address food insecurity; no one should have to deal with the all too common load of chronic diseases and complications because they did not have access to the resources necessary to prevent them, but far too many people do,” she said.

But working with the Food Recovery Network is not the only way Shiff has made an impact on the local community. She also is a crew chief and external operations director with CWRU Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Though she didn’t know much about emergency medical services prior to taking the organization’s EMT course in the spring of her first year, Shiff liked what she found.

Now in her second year serving on the organization’s executive board, Shiff is instrumental in helping connect members of the university community to emergency preparedness training in Stop the Bleed and CPR. She advised that students, faculty and staff make note of the locations of AED and Stop the Bleed kits near where they live and work and consider participating in training courses. Learn more about how to get involved.

Schiff’s experiences with both Food Recovery Network and CWRU EMS have the potential to play into her future career goals as she considers what to do next.

“I’m still trying to decide if I want to become a physician or a registered dietitian,” she said. “No matter which career path I follow, I will undoubtedly carry with me the skills of leadership, teamwork and communication from my work with CWRU EMS and [Food Recovery Network], and I will certainly seek a career in which I can continue to help others.”