HCC science student creates nutrition coloring book

Oct 2, 2014

Photo of Lisa Pha and her creation - nutrition coloring books.

It all started with a science class at HCC Central.

Lisa Pha (whose last name is pronounced "Fay") took professor Mary Puccini's nutrition class in the science department last year and was astounded. "The class was a lot more challenging than I thought," Pha recalls. "It was clearly on a level I didn't expect. I thought I was back at a four-year college."

One of the requirements was to create a nutrition project. Pha knew right away that her project would encourage children to eat better. 

That's when the coloring book -You Can Be a Superhero - was born. "I wanted the book to give youngsters the message about what is good to eat," she says. "Good foods became the super heroes. Bad foods are the villains." 

Pha clearly is a woman on a mission. The California native came to Houston with a goal of teaching high school science. Already armed with her Bachelor's degree in education from California State University - San Bernardino and a Master's degree from Regis University, Pha enrolled in science and math courses at HCC Central - chemistry, physics, algebra and astronomy - to brush up on her skills for her future teaching career. 

Along the way, she found herself in professor Puccini's class, and excited about creating the coloring book. But a question loomed. How to get this book - created as a simple Word document - into published form and available for kids?

Enter the HCC Central Cabinet and college president Dr. William Harmon. Earlier this year, Pha, along with several other students from professor Puccini's class, made nutrition-project presentations at the college's bi-monthly Cabinet meeting. Dr. Harmon and college administrators were so impressed with the presentations that students were encouraged to follow up with HCC Central PR to have their ideas published.

Pha did just that. Last week, HCC Central PR printed roughly 300 copies of the 12-page book for Pha to use in nearby elementary schools, as well as for Houston's S.H.A.P.E. Community Center. "I'd like to make this book into a cartoon and brand it so I can reach out to little kids and get them to eat right," says Pha, who is in her fourth week of Doctoral studies in public health and nutrition at Capella University. "That's where we need to start, with the little ones. There's not enough information on nutrition for kids, particularly in fun ways they can relate to. I hope to make a difference with this coloring book."‌‌

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