Class of 2018
Hometown: Austin, Texas
What is your College Scholar project?
Food Policy is the running title for my College Scholar project. Broadly, I am interested in looking at federal agricultural policies’ possible effect on nutrition insecurity in the U.S. The courses I am taking are aimed at answering central questions in order to determine this connection. Economic and financial courses help to understand how the prices of foods are determined in the U.S., beyond factors such as supply and demand. An additional set of classes focus on the micro-nutritional effects of eating foods produced in different ways. Government and policy courses help to gain an understanding of what influences the structure of policy, the effects of this structure, and the potential for policy solutions. From these different pockets of understanding I hope to propose an alternative policy agenda for dealing with the problem of nutrition insecurity in the U.S. I believe a more effective long-term alternative to traditional food assistance programs is the manipulation of agricultural policy with the explicit purpose of positively effecting affordability for low-income people. During my time at Cornell I have learned that the disadvantages that result from a lack of access to nutrition can create cascading inequalities.
What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
Outside of academics, I focus most of my energy on improving the cooperative living housing option on campus. From living in my own cooperative house, I have come to strongly believe that there are things to be learned outside of the intellectual sphere. College is a formative period in our lives; the structures of the institutions we are a part of have a powerful effect on the way we will view the world when we leave here. I believe cooperative living highlights a responsibility for taking care of your own space as well as learning to live, work, and organize effectively with other people. In addition to taking on many different officer positions in my own cooperative house, this year I am acting as the president of the Inter-Cooperative Counsel, an organization that I hope will play a role in working with the housing office to create more cooperative houses in respond to the growing demand we have seen.
Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended?
This summer I am working as a Research Assistant for Professor Jamila Michener. The work I will be doing for her is qualitative. Interviewing, a skill I will gain this summer, is something I hope to incorporate into my own research in order to inform it in a more grounded holistic way.
What do you dream of doing after graduation?
This year in particular I have realized that there are many admirable and influential fields for positively effecting policy change, starting with informative research like the work conducted by professors for whom I have a lot of respect. I also see investigative journalism as a powerful potential avenue for reshaping a policy arena. I do not have a clear plan for what I do after graduation but these are some of the possible paths I may take.