What is your previous work experience?
During undergrad, I pursued work that focused on research and community empowerment. I worked for a year the Southern Oral History Program where I transcribed oral histories of local and Southern communities and put my research and design skills to use in curating a digital exhibit on the history of women’s and minority voting rights in America. Subsequently, I worked in UNC Chapel Hill’s Ancient World Mapping Center where I assisted in preparing maps for publication in educational texts and contributed to research on the cartographic history of German and Ottoman Turkish maps. And most recently I worked on food insecurity and community access issues as an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA Associate where I helped with food service & youth education through the Wake County Summer Food Program.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
Given my largely interdisciplinary background majoring in Linguistics and minoring in GIS and Arabic in undergrad, I appreciated the interdisciplinary approach of the Nicholas School. I was also greatly impressed by the wide variety of class offerings, the faculty's broad range of professional and academic experience, and the focus on getting directly involved in your field of interest through internships and the Master's Project.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I am looking forward to learning from the faculty and being engaged in a community of peers with interests that overlap with my own. I am also excited to gain more hands on experience in my future career field as it is, in some ways, completely new to me.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I am interested in the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of food systems. On an environmental level sustainability to me means reducing the release of toxins and potentially harmful substances released into the environment from agriculture, fostering agricultural techniques that increase soil health, and creating food systems that harmonize natural and built environments. On a social level, to me food system sustainability means developing food systems and food networks that increase community resilience, reduce food insecurity, and promote physically and mentally healthy relationships between people and food. And finally, food sustainability on an economic level to me means safeguarding the economic autonomy of farmers, creating food networks that result in nutritious, high quality, and inexpensive food for consumers, and ensuring the economic viability of smaller food enterprises and food producers that embrace sustainable practices.
During my time at the Nicholas School, I intend to learn more about the environmental issues that affect food systems from an ecotoxicology and environmental health perspective and gain a deeper understanding of the economics of food systems as well as participate in internships and clubs with community food system focus.
What plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
After graduating from the Nicholas School, I see myself working on global agricultural sustainability projects and food policy research as well as being involved in community-based agricultural resource management and access initiatives.