Three University of California students will be working with scientists in the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to study food security, nutrition education and agricultural research and extension.
UC Berkeley graduate students Erika Brown and Matthew Shapero and UC Davis senior Jay Gelvezon will each receive a $4,000 fellowship through the university's Global Food Initiative.
“It is imperative to get students involved in UC ANR's activities to move the world toward food security for all and a more sustainable future,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The fresh ideas that the UC Global Food Initiative fellows contribute will help us extend what we learn through research to improve the health of Californians.”
Brown, a native of San Diego, will work closely with Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, on a student food-security research project. In the spring of 2015, nearly 9,000 students from all 10 UC campuses participated in a survey, which was designed to document the prevalence of food insecurity among students and to identify characteristics of students who experience food insecurity. Brown, a public health graduate student at UC Berkeley, will help analyze the survey results to better understand factors contributing to food insecurity and the consequences on students. Since arriving at UC Berkeley, she has worked with several organizations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Food Security Taskforce, to identify and eliminate barriers to achieving food security.
Shapero, a native of Santa Barbara, will lead a group of graduate students to organize seminars and workshops for students who are interested in pursuing careers in research and extension in nutrition, youth development, agriculture and natural resources with Cooperative Extension. Shapero's fellowship will also support the UC Berkeley graduate student-led Cooperative Extension Showcase, which brings UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists to the Berkeley campus to discuss their work and to network with graduate students. At the showcase this fall, students will have an opportunity to meet potential academic mentors and discuss future collaborative research. Shapero, a range management graduate student, has worked on farms in the Sierra foothills and served two years on the Nevada County Agricultural Advisory Commission and two years on the board of directors for Nevada County Grown.
Gelvezon, a native of Torrance, will work with UC ANR's Strategic Communications team on projects that convey the benefits of UC ANR's food-related research and outreach in communities throughout California. Gelvezon, who is pursuing degrees in both nutrition science and communication, will engage in social media research, photography, video and media outreach projects. The UC Davis senior has served for the past year as a photographer and photo editor for the school's newspaper the California Aggie. He has also worked as a sports nutrition social media intern, creating daily Twitter content, flyers and Instagram posts, and working with UC Davis Athletics to film and edit videos that provide nutrition information for UC Davis athletes.
The University of California aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. Through its Global Food Initiative, UC is building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among its 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and UC ANR to improve food security, health and sustainability.
To get UC students involved in the Global Food Initiative effort, the UC Office of the President is providing fellowship funds to each UC campus, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC ANR. All of the UC Global Food Initiative fellows systemwide are listed at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/uc-students-awarded-global-food-initiative-fellowships.