Alumni Highlight: Katja Evans |

Feb 7, 2020 10:30:00 AM | nutrition in school Alumni Highlight: Katja Evans |

For her capstone project at ACHS, Katja Evans didn’t just write a paper. She wrote a successful application for a $15,000 Vermont Farm to School grant!

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Katja EvansFor her capstone project at ACHS, Katja Evans didn’t just write a paper. She wrote a successful grant application for a $15,000 Farm to School grant for Braintree Elementary School!  “We were really excited to get it! It’s a huge opportunity and will have a really big impact for the school,” Katja says. Braintree Elementary School, located in Vermont, is the school that Katja's children currently attend. 

Katja obtained a Master’s of Science in Health and Wellness from ACHS in 2019. “For my capstone, one of the things that I really wanted to focus on was finding a project that would have a direct impact in the community. I wanted to find a way to transfer what I learned at ACHS to a community setting,” she says. 

Her Professors at ACHS and the Principal at Braintree Elementary School both gave her the go-ahead to write the grant application. At the time, Katja was already on a committee at the elementary school that had applied for the grant in the past but was unsuccessful. But, the school was willing to give it another try!

“Once I got the okay from ACHS and the Principal, the application went live October 11 and we submitted the application on November 17. It was pretty quick. We found out [we got the grant] about a month later,” Katja says. 

What is the Farm to School Grant? 

The purpose of this grant is to help schools create farm to school programs that will sustain relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich the educational experience of students, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont's agricultural economy," according to the grant application website. 

"Schools and early care providers are best able to achieve these goals when they take a holistic approach and incorporate the 3 C’s of Farm to School: Cafeteria (food program), Classroom, and Community. Together, the 3 C’s support healthy children, healthy agriculture, and healthy communities."

The grant provides financial and technical support to the school as it develops the program. The end goal is a program that increases the use of local foods, helps the school promote healthy eating habits, strengthens connections between the school and local farmers, and increases the number of children in Vermont that are participating in nutrition programs.

Positive changes

“I think it has the potential to make a lot of positive changes,” Katja says. “The faculty and school are totally behind it, they’re very supportive. Everyone’s really excited about it!”

Experience at ACHS

Katja says that the option of doing courses online really appealed to her. "I wanted to focus solely on an online college. I found the course that interested me and really liked that ACHS included anatomy in the Masters degree. A few of the other programs that I looked and didn’t have anatomy and physiology, but at ACHS I felt that the Masters had a good range of topics," Katja says.

Moving forward

For the next two years, Katja will be working with Braintree Elementary School to implement the farm to school program. She says that she would also like to get a certification as a health coach in the future.

"I think we all go on that [health] journey at a different time in our life and I think having someone there supporting you through it is really crucial. Helping people see that making steps towards a healthy life doesn’t take such a huge change. Helping people learn that it’s really just little steps at a time that can lead to a huge impact. Giving people the confidence and support that can lead to these huge changes in their lives,” she says.

Are you interested in being interviewed for the blog?

We would love to highlight more ACHS students and graduates! An article on our blog is a great way to share your holistic health story, show off what you've accomplished, or spread the news about your new wellness practice. Please fill out this form and our Social Media Coordinator, Gillian Wilson, will be in touch with you to schedule a phone interview. 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the Social Media Coordinator of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS-Building-ExteriorFounded in 1978, is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and integrative health. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 16% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit

Gillian Turner

Written By: Gillian Turner

Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.