Biology student lends a paw to campus food pantryCorinne Blackburn | Biology, Undergraduate | Biology Department You might have seen Corinne Blackburn on campus.
She’s kind of hard to miss with her purple motorcycle. You also might have seen her participating in one of the 10 organizations she has been heavily involved in while at IUPUI. As a Sam H. Jones Scholar, Blackburn is no stranger to service either. She joined this community service scholars program during her junior year and worked at the nonprofit Global Peace Initiatives, where she learned about sustainability and the importance of a healthy diet.
Blackburn said working for the Global Peace Initiatives “was my first introduction to human sustainability and provoked my passion for community service.” This passion for community service led Blackburn to take on one of her biggest challenges yet: helping start a student-run organization.
Enter in Paws Pantry, a then newly forming food pantry with the goal of supporting students, faculty and staff with food assistance. When Blackburn was approached by one of the student co-directors of the pantry she knew this organization was something special and wanted to do whatever she could to help. She immediately took an active role in the organization’s founding committee, serving as the coordinator of external partnerships and director of documentation and data.
Blackburn still remembers opening day for the pantry: “The day that we cut the ribbon for our pantry was probably one of the happiest ones I’ve had at IUPUI.” Now, as student director of Paw’s Pantry, Blackburn oversees a committee of nine individuals and is responsible for keeping the pantry up and running.
Since stepping in as director during her senior year at IUPUI, the pantry has expanded into its own storage space and held more than 10 food drives this year. The pantry has also seen more than 500 visits and expanded its outreach to not only the IUPUI community but also the Indianapolis community.
As a pre-med biology student in the School of Science, Blackburn is familiar with using science in everyday life. She’s applied her knowledge by working in three scientific research laboratories and has even been able to use the skills she’s learned as a science student while working at Paw’s Pantry.
“I was able to incorporate all of the experiences I have had in laboratories into my role at Paws Pantry, collecting data and finding statistical significance in our visits and food values,” said Blackburn. “I was able to interact with our shoppers and not only see that statistical impact we were having, but also the personal impact on each and every one of them.”
Blackburn’s hard work and involvement with IUPUI and the Indianapolis community were recognized this year, as she was named an IUPUI Top 100 student and then received top honors as the Most Outstanding Female Student. She applied to Indiana University School of Medicine with the hopes of becoming a pediatric oncologist. In the mean time, she’ll continue to leave her mark on IUPUI. Just keep an eye out for the girl with the motorcycle.