Meet Matthew Odendahl, Spring Intern for GASP
What is your major at UAB/BSC and why did you choose it? I am pursuing a bachelor of science in public health, with a concentration in environmental health and a studio art minor. I chose this degree as I wanted to have a positive impact on the world and as I kept studying and taking classes I realized that I had skills that could be beneficial for addressing community concerns and the environment.
What do you hope to do after you graduate? I hope to work with local organizations to help make Birmingham the city that I believe it could be.
What is your dream job? My dream job would have to be a position where I am allowed to be creative while also being able to listen and help vulnerable communities.
What do you hope to learn while interning with GASP? I hope to learn how to not only help vulnerable communities and populations but also have a lasting positive impact on them as well.
Why is our mission to reduce air pollution important to you? Poor air quality affects everyone but really has an impact on communities located by industry. People living in those areas have higher rates of asthma, lung cancer, etc and are economically trapped there due to systems of oppression. This vicious cycle makes me feel ashamed of my home so I want to fix those issues.
What is your favorite food? I would have to say my favorite food is some sort of sandwich, turkey, meatball doesn’t matter. I enjoy efficient foods and what’s more efficient then a sandwich? It has everything you need in each bite. Perfection.
What are your hobbies? I am an artist so I spend a lot of my free time illustrating, painting, anything where I can create and explore my mind.
Who or what are your influences? I have many influences in my life. I am moved by artists both music and visual who use their experience to create. I am inspired by my mentors and professors that have instilled in me information that can be utilized to make the world better. I am inspired by my peers that take action and stand up for what they believe in.
What are some other fun facts about yourself?
- I listen to rap music religiously.
- I hate driving so I tend to walk most places.
- I love art and expression in all its forms
- I consider most foods encased in something a sandwich ie burrito, gyro, hotdog etc.
GASP is a nonprofit health advocacy organization based in Birmingham, Ala. Our mission is to reduce air pollution, to educate the public on the health risks associated with dirty air, and to encourage community leaders to serve as role models for clean air and clean energy production.