FOODMatch + Divina’s Future Community Leader

By November 1, 2023November 6th, 2023In the City, News, The Power of Cooking

Every year we grant the Divina’s Future Community Leader Award, a $5,000 academic scholarship, to a Sylvia Center Teen Culinary Apprenticeship alum who demonstrates overall growth within the program and is actively involved in community service and leadership roles in their community. This year’s recipient is Dana Dessources, who is currently a freshman majoring in Biology at the University of Rochester. Learn more about Dana’s interest in food and health sciences, and how she applies healthy eating to her life on campus below!

Please join us in congratulating Dana, and thanking FOODMatch + Divina for partnering with us for the past 9 years! Scholarship winners have the opportunity to engage in job readiness coaching and career opportunities with FOODMatch + Divina. We’re thrilled that our students have the opportunity to continue to explore new foods and become peer advocates in their communities.


I am Dana Dessources (she/her/hers), a freshman at the University of Rochester with an intended major in Biology. I was born and raised in Queens, New York, and I’m the daughter of Caribbean immigrants. My father is Haitian and my mother is Guyanese, so during my childhood, I was surrounded by Haitian and Guyanese dishes. But I’m super passionate about trying new cuisines. I love to go out with friends and visit new bakeries. I make sure to take advantage of being in a diverse city by trying everything and anything! 

During my senior year of high school, I joined the Teen Culinary Apprenticeship (TCA) program with the goal of broadening my cooking skills. I am a city girl at heart, so adjusting to living at a university that is quite far from the city has been hard. One thing I have been doing to make campus-living more comfortable has been maintaining a healthy diet. I’ve made multiple Sylvia Center recipes since living on my own in school.

I’ve always been interested in the sciences. I enjoyed learning about bread-making and its chemical reactions. Yeast and sugar ferment to produce carbon dioxide, which causes the bread to rise. In cooking, each ingredient is needed for another to function properly in the recipe. The food science components of the TCA program have made it so much easier to cook and bake!