What is your previous work experience? Please describe.
I have spent the last several years engaged in food and agriculture work, both professionally and academically. Everything from working on fruit and vegetable farms, to farmland conservation work, to food systems research-- you name it. Prior to starting school, I was actually over at UNC managing their edible landscaping program! I am excited now to return to working with local farmers, and helping to build a more equitable food system.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
I have come to recognize policy work as an important piece of building a more just food system, and am looking to build my toolkit in this area. I see many barriers to making small scale, diversified farming a viable livelihood, and want to better understand the systems and policies we must address to change that. This includes everything from the soil management practices we see used, to the policies impacting who gets access to farmland. The MEM degree provides a unique opportunity to explore it all.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I am particularly excited for the client-based opportunities at the Nicholas School. I have grown very connected to the greater Triangle community over the last several years, and am energized by its social and environmental justice efforts. I look forward to using my years at the Nicholas School to continue to support work in the local community. The Community-Based Environmental Management (CBEM) Certificate was a big draw for me, as it will provide an opportunity to think critically about my approach to community engaged work.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
As you've probably caught on, I am interested in topics of food, agriculture, and land management. Mending our current food system will require proficiency in so many different areas, from policy and economics, to climate and soil science, to equity topics. For the last several years, I have been focused rather explicitly on the food system, so am excited to take a step back and examine the greater structures with which it interacts.
What plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
I am trying to take things day by day (or, semester by semester rather!) at this point. I care deeply about supporting small farmers and building a more equitable food system, and will be excited to see what opportunities will arise in this area of work. I am encouraged by the growing attention that our food system has been receiving in recent years, and the justice lens that is being brought to these initiatives. There is a lot of work to be done, and I will continue to think critically about how I can best be a resource.