Detroit Food Academy – UROP Summer Symposium 2021

Detroit Food Academy

Myla Lyons

Myla Lyons

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

UROP Fellowship: DCERP
Research Mentor(s): Julie Wainwright, Director of Operations and Tiffany Brown, Program Director
Research Mentor Institution/Department: Detroit Food Academy

Presentation Date: Thursday, July 29th
Session: 5:30 – 7:00pm
Breakout Room: DCERP Showcase

Event Link


Hi everyone, I am Myla Lyons, I use she/her pronouns. I’m a rising junior majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience, and Entrepreneurship, on my way to an Accelerated Masters Degree in Applied Statistics.

I worked as a Summer Intern and Facilitator with the Detroit Food Academy, which educates middle through high school aspiring chefs about physical wellness, nutrition, food business and culture, and how to cook!

My research is focused on the reinitiation of the Youth Career Support program at DFA. It gives young chefs the opportunity to apply, interview, work for and be mentored by local business owners in the Detroit area.

During COVID, the Youth Career Support program was put on hold, now it is going to ramp up again soon. I asked DFA alumni and mentors what makes for a good mentorship experience.

An overwhelming majority of alumni I interviewed brought up the lifelong connections that come out of mentorship. Where the engagement is not only about the work done here, but on a holistic level, that is an excellent mentorship experience. One of our alumni said working at Sister Pie dessert shop gave them Sisterhood that changed their perspective on life.

Spending the summer with Detroit Food Academy is an experience that will never leave me. The people I work with are immensely creative – these young chefs inspire me everyday. They’ve quickly become thoughtful, empathetic individuals from what I’ve experienced working with them in socioemotional learning. I learn just as much from them as they learn from me. I had amazing experiences with all of the faculty at DFA, super passionate and knowledgeable about food’s role in the world, from when it’s in the ground to when it’s in our stomachs. This experience, along with our conversations about Environmental Justice, Gentrification and Antiracism within the Detroit Community Engaged Research Program changes how I see myself pursuing Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Equitable Psychological Research. Thank you DCERP for giving me the opportunity, and thank you to everyone here for allowing me to share my experience with you.


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