Laura Pezold, '20

Laura Pezold serves fruit at NourishKC.

Junior Laura Pezold, a communication sciences and disorders major, has had a passion for service since she arrived on campus. This summer, Pezold is working as a Bishop Sullivan intern at NourishKC, an organization that provides a free, balanced meal to those who stop by for lunch. Read more about Pezold and her internship below.

Q: How did you end up at Rockhurst?

A: My sister (Sarah Pezold, ‘18) went to Rockhurst. She just graduated. When I toured with her I was like, “Oh, I really like this,” but when she decided to come to Rockhurst I was like, “No, I don’t want to go to Rockhurst if she goes there.” My senior year I decided to apply just to see, and then I ended up really liking it. When I came back for Competitive Scholars Day, I didn’t get the scholarship, but I just loved the atmosphere.

Q: How did you land on communication sciences and disorders?

A: Honestly, I started out pre-med and for our freshman in science seminar we had to go to these career presentations and I picked one randomly. I picked CSD. I was really unsure about pre-med at that point. When I went, Dr. (Shatonda) Jones (Ph.D., assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders) gave the presentation. She was so awesome and right after I got out of the 15-30 minute presentation I called my mom and I was like, “Oh my gosh I’m switching my major.” So, I switched, and I’ve loved it.

Q: What’s the Bishop Sullivan intern application process like?

A: Bishop Sullivan hires 25 Catholic college students and they all get placed at different nonprofit organizations. It’s an online application. They have a whole list of organizations you can choose from and you rank your top three and then they ask you during the interview why you would want to go to those three. They pick the place for you and I think it’s kind of more of where they see you fitting in the best. I don’t think I got my top choice because they saw me fitting in here better.

Q: Why did you want to be at NourishKC?

A: I was originally supposed to not even be at the kitchen. I applied for a different role I was supposed to be filling in NourishKC. I was supposed to be working with the Culinary Cornerstone program which teaches people culinary skills so that they can work in a culinary setting, but they decided to just put the program on hold for right now. They sent me over to the kitchen to work because I really wanted to interact with the people who would come in. That’s kind of how I ended up here. When I was applying, I was intrigued with the goal of NourishKC which is to literally nourish Kansas City. Not, "let’s feed these people who come in as much food as possible,” but, “let’s feed them one really healthy meal.” I liked that goal.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: It’s very chaotic, as you can tell. There are two interns here so we come in at 8 a.m. and usually we start helping to prep food. This morning, I was cutting strawberries and filling up ice and sometimes I make salad and things like that. We have youth volunteers during the summer and they come at 8:30 or 9 a.m. So, especially the first day that they’re here, I’m helping explain why they’re here and why they’re helping. We have breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. I don’t usually help with breakfast. From 9 to 11 a.m., we’re just helping get things ready for lunch. When lunch starts, I’m either working on plating the food or out here helping wait. We don’t do a typical soup kitchen style, we do restaurant style. Each table will have a waiter or a waitress. People will come in and they get a ticket from the host, they sit down at a table, their waiter comes over and says, “What can I get you to drink?” They get them something to drink and come back and ask them what they want. Sometimes they have choices so there’s not just one option. Today we have teriyaki chicken with rice and then we always have spaghetti. Yesterday we had pork, or you could get corn dogs or spaghetti, so there are several options usually. It’s kind of just where I’m needed. Yesterday I was doing a little bit of waiting and a little bit of plating, kind of just floating around, helping the kids and making sure they were doing what they needed to do.

Q: What’s your favorite part of this internship?

A: I love the people who work here. The manager, Linda, is super awesome. She is so nice to us. I love the people that come in. Sometimes they just crack me up. There’s this one guy that comes in who looks like Woody Harrelson, and I call him “Woody.” Every time I see him he’s like, “What’s up?” and fist bumps me. He just makes my day because he’s so funny.

Q: Since you’re a CSD major, how did you find out about this program?

A: Yeah, it’s so unrelated. My sister did this program last year and I’m kind of close with Bill Kriege (director of Campus Ministry) and he’s good friends with a guy who is in charge of the Bishop Sullivan internship. Bill and my sister were like, “Well, you should just apply for this and see what happens.” It kind of just fell in my lap.

Q: How did you get involved with service at Rockhurst?

A: Freshman year, we started off by having to do mandatory service for freshmen in science. I’m involved with Voices for Justice and we do service projects each month. This past year, I really tried to do at least one for each month. That could have been Cherith Brook, because we go to Cherith Brook every month, or whatever the specialized service was for that month’s topic. I have to get a certain amount of service hours for my sorority, but mostly after doing service with Voices, there were a lot of service projects that I actually enjoyed doing. I was at Reconciliation Services, which is a similarly-styled soup kitchen before I had heard of NourishKC, and when I went there for the first time with Voices, I really liked it and I started to go back more often. It was just finding where I liked and then trying to go back.

Q: What do you enjoy about doing service?

A: I like the connection with the people and just getting to know different people in Kansas City. I wanted to work at the kitchen because I wanted to get to know the people. My first day at the kitchen, the people who sat down at my table because I was a waiter were just really awesome. The first guy was telling me how he got his air conditioning working for the first time in three months. He was so excited about it. I thought that was so pure. One lady comes in every day. She always comes up and says, “The food was so good thank you so much.” The sweet people are what make it better.

Q: How do you think being at Rockhurst helped foster your love of service since you’re not directly involved with it through school?

A: I feel like because Rockhurst is so small and you need to find something to fill your time, service is one of those things that fill your time. I’m close with all of the campus ministers and they’re big into it. Rockhurst being Jesuit is a big reason. The Jesuits want you to be a man and woman for and with others. That’s really important. It’s the core mission that they want to work for others and be with them and be at their level which is one of the huge reasons I wanted to be at the kitchen because I’m at their level. I eat the same lunch they eat out here with them every day so it’s important to foster that relationship. We’re all the same in the end.