Meghan Hadley

Class of 2018

Hometown: Rose Valley, Pa.

What is your College Scholar project?
At its simplest, my College Scholar project is about food — or, rather, the decisions people make about food. What we choose to eat has a tremendous impact on our overall health and well-being, so if we could somehow influence the food choices people make, we could improve the overall health and well-being of our society. Obviously, however, this is not such a simple task — for one, affordability and accessibility play a huge role in determining what choices people can or cannot make in the first place. But it is for this reason that I would like to ask the following question: How can we create public policies that will change the current food system and consumer culture in such a way as to facilitate and promote healthier food choices, thereby improving overall public health? My intended course of study, designed to answer this question, draws mainly from the Departments of Government, Economics, and American Studies — Government to learn how to create and implement effective public policy, Economics to learn how to facilitate and promote healthier food choices through economic incentives, and American Studies to explore the ways in which our food system has developed over the years, adapting itself to a changing American culture.
This April, I attended a summit in Washington, DC hosted by an organization called Food Tank. The summit brought together people from a wide range of fields and backgrounds to talk about  everything from investing in the food movement and legislating change in the food system to improving nutrient density and nourishing the planet. Featured speakers included, notably, Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended?
In the spring of my sophomore year, I participated in the Cornell in Washington program, through which I was able to intern for the nonprofit DC Greens, an organization that works to improve food access, food education, and food policy in the District of Columbia. I was hired as part of DC Greens’s “School Garden Army,” which matched interns with local elementary schools, where we were tasked with the creation, maintenance, and/or improvement of school garden programs. I was able to spend an incredibly rewarding semester teaching elementary school children — both in the classroom and in the garden — about food, health, science, the environment, and everything in between.

What do you dream of doing after graduation?
I’d like to say that what I truly dream of doing after graduation is “solving world hunger,” but I realize this may be a bit too lofty to constitute a tangible career aspiration. What I’ll say instead is that “solving world hunger” is a goal I’d like to work toward, through whatever career I do choose to pursue. And as it is a goal of mine to one day be able to influence public policy in such a way as to improve the overall health and well-being of our country, it is very possible that my career aspirations fall somewhere in the realm of politics. It is equally possible, however, that I may be interested in working for some sort of nonprofit organization. I know for a fact that there are countless organizations that exist whose sole purposes are such things as “eradicating hunger” and “combatting poverty” — missions I could support and advocate for wholeheartedly.