In order to address the problem of hunger, first we must understand it. To that end, the Feeding America network undertakes a nation-wide study every four years that provides an in-depth look at who is in need, how the need is met, and by whom. This project is called Hunger in America and data collection is currently underway for the 2014 iteration of this study.
In addition to featuring more precise local data and advanced survey technology, the Hunger in America 2014 study will provide an unprecedented level of support for member food banks and their agencies as data is gathered. That support comes in the form of the Hunger Study Research Fellows, the latest additions to the Feeding America national office staff.
I'm pleased to introduce the Hunger in America 2014 Research Fellows:
Amaris Kinne is from Syracuse, New York, but has lived for stretches in Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC, where she received a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University in 2011. While in DC she served as the Education Policy Analyst at the League of United Latin American Citizens, where she worked on grassroots and national advocacy campaigns to improve educational conditions and outcomes for low-income students and students of color. As a former teacher in a high-needs area, Amaris brings the perspective of a direct service provider to a vulnerable population to this position. She is eager to learn more about the issue of food insecurity while contributing to the completion of HIA 2014, which will have policy implications for many under-served groups. Outside of work, you are likely to find Amaris watching the Syracuse Orange and Boston College Eagles competing in football and basketball.
Brittany was born and raised in Miami, Florida and recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Human Rights. Her interest in the food banking world began with a volunteer trip to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and has since flourished, with a particular interest in public health, nutrition, and charitable food assistance. In 2011, she interned at a Chicago elementary school in an underserved neighborhood that pioneered innovative and sustainable initiatives, including organic breakfast and lunch, campus vegetable gardens, solar panels, and egg-bearing chickens. In 2012, she attended a Northwestern University conference on the Global Food Crisis, which included visits to city pantries to see how SNAP Outreach and Client Choice are executed on the ground. She is extremely excited to serve as a Hunger Study Research Fellow and is eager to learn more about each organization's unique capacity.
Meghan O'Leary, a Chicago native, has a background in research and non-profit development. She graduated with an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico where she focused her studies on health and elder care. She most recently served as a Research Assistant at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center where she conducted qualitative research with low-income cancer patients and their family members. In addition, Meghan previously interned at the Alzheimer's Association and volunteered at a non-profit organization that focuses on individuals with developmental disabilities. Meghan is passionate about the research field and is excited to bring her particular interests in health and senior care to her role as a Hunger Study Research Fellow.
Monica Hake is from Rochester, Minnesota, and has been a resident of Chicago for nearly three years, during which time she obtained a M.S.W. from the University of Illinois - Chicago. In a previous life, Monica was a financial statement auditor for a large public accountancy firm before undergoing a career change into the nonprofit sector. Past roles include working in a food provision capacity for a Los Angeles area social service agency and managing a local census office for the 2010 U.S. Census, experiences which she expects to be helpful in her work on the Hunger in America 2014 study.