An Garagiola, a junior at Hamline University, is passionate about and actively engaged in addressing issues of poverty and inequality. Her commitment to social equity is demonstrated by her leadership of fellow students, faculty and staff at Hamline to help students who are facing food insecurity. Specifically, An co-created the "Feed Your Brain Initiative" with the goal of raising awareness about students' food vulnerability and establishing multiple ways of addressing food insecurity-including a food pantry. She led the Feed Your Brain team in applying for and receiving a Hamline Sustainability grant to join forces with a local nonprofit-The Food Group-to organize a "pop-up" food effort. Most impressively, An also takes broader action through her research and writing. Last year, she developed a campus survey and reviewed the literature on college student hunger. She presented papers at local and national conferences, as well as having two of her articles published in The Washington Post (April 2017) and in Fox News (October 2017). She makes us very proud, indeed.
My hope for the future of equitable learning communities exists at the nexus of intersectional poverty studies and pedagogies of upward mobility via higher education. For myself, education has proven to be a reliable vehicle out of poverty and towards prosperity. I want to help others complete this journey, too.
Sharing Mr. Newman's desire to create opportunities for "diverse and economically challenged students" to thrive, my research and praxis revolve around college food and housing insecurity. As many as two out of three students cannot access enough resources to meet their basic needs. I have published op-eds on this subject through Community College Daily, Fox News, and The Washington Post. Writing is not enough, so I began the Feed Your Brain Campaign. Through initiatives like Food and Chats, Foodmobile visits, and pop-up pantries, we get food to students in need.
Turning poverty into prosperity requires bipartisan conversations, relationships, and action. That is how we begin to break down stereotypes and stigma to find real, workable solutions to helping our neighbors move out of poverty. As Hamline's Newman Fellow I am gaining valuable collaboration, communication, and networking strategies to sharpen my civic responsibility. Together, we can find a sustainable way forward.