Food Studies  News

Stepping out of the Classroom to Feed the City


In collaborating with local organizations, 25 Food Studies students are helping transform Syracuse’s food system.

Contributions by Megan Falk

Four people sit around a table in a board room
To ensure their educational curriculum will meet their community partner’s needs, Mariah Bermeo, ’19, and Em Palmero, SUNY-ESF ’19, meet with Kristina Kirby and Twiggy Billue of Jubilee Homes. At the not-for-profit’s office, the students discuss the tentative lesson plan they have developed for Urban Delights and gather feedback from the project managers. Photo credit Megan Falk.
With the orange Pontiac’s dashboard clock ticking closer to 11 a.m., Em Palmero and Mariah Bermeo race off the Syracuse University campus and into the southwest side of Syracuse. The Food Studies students have a tight window of time between their Monday classes to visit Jubilee Homes, the nonprofit with which they’ve partnered on a class project. Once they arrive at the two-story home-turned-headquarters, Palmero and Bermeo head into a warm conference room and take a seat at the wooden table.

Sitting opposite of Kristina Kirby and Twiggy Billue, the project managers, the students give a quick overview of their tentative food justice curriculum. For the last month, they’ve been working with three other classmates to develop lesson plans, which the organization will use for its youth urban farming program this summer. “This is great,” Kirby says. “This is a very good starting point.” Twenty minutes later, Palmero and Bermeo thank the partners, jump in the car, and head back to the university, ready to adjust their lesson plan that will benefit a dozen teenagers in just a few months.

This partnership between a group of college students and an organization working to improve the city’s food system is one of many transcending the town-gown divide in Syracuse, New York. In January, 25 students from Syracuse University and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry traded in their textbooks for semester-long partnerships with three local organizations and Syracuse University’s Office of Sustainability to help carry out mutually beneficial projects. The community engagement projects, which are part of the Food Studies program’s Urban Food Systems course, have distinct focuses, including conceptualizing a community kitchen, creating a marketing plan for an urban farm, launching a food pantry, and planning an educational curriculum, among others.

Launched in 2013 by Food Studies Professor Evan Weissman, Urban Food Systems is unlike any other course in the program, offering a hands-on learning experience. In 2014, the class began collaborating with local organizations to help students put the theories they explore in the classroom into practice, enabling them to develop tangible, transferrable skills while making an impact on the community. To Weissman, engaging in this community-based work and efforts toward social change is an important role of the university.

“A lot of Syracuse students don’t get a good opportunity to get out in the community in a meaningful way,” Weissman says. “Using the resources of the university — in this case, I’m thinking of the students, the knowledge they have, and their actual labor — putting those into the community is something to make qualitatively better the food system of Central New York.”

These student-community collaborations enable students to gain a better understanding of course content and exposure to new career paths. Simultaneously, the organizations receive additional human resources to expand their services, as well as fresh ideas on operation improvements, according to research published in Teaching Sociology. Student participation can also allow a partner to focus on other work within the organization or test new business opportunities, Weissman says.

For the past 20 years, Jubilee Homes has run Urban Delights, a summer program dedicated to promoting youth development, as well as raising awareness and conquering issues of food insecurity. The 14 to 21-year-olds who participate in the program run a farm stand and oversee the entire process, from planting the seedling to marketing the produce. While Kristina Kirby, Jubilee Homes’ fiscal manager, already uses an established curriculum for the entrepreneurial aspects of the program, she wanted to develop a set of youth-centric lessons delving into food justice and farming itself.

Covering topics like composting, planting, and agroecology, these lessons can have a positive impact on the teens in the community, helping to reinforce the STEM education they receive in school, says Twiggy Billue, the Build to Work Coordinator of Jubilee Homes who is helping Kirby oversee the project. “When young people really see how food grows, they become stewards of the earth,” Billue says. “They take this knowledge back to school and have a stronger science grade and have a stronger math grade, so that to me has been one of the large successes, that it ties into their everyday life, including school.”

By prompting students to head off campus and apply their education to the city of Syracuse, both Lyons and Kirby hope the projects not only provide students a chance to give back, but also help them gain a better understanding of their community. To Fry, these community engagement projects offer just that.

Falk College welcomes new faculty and staff


Syracuse University’s Falk College is pleased to announce the appointment of new staff members who have joined Falk College in the past academic year, including Karen Goebel, office coordinator in the School of Social Work; Meredith Groman, administrative assistant and Jamie Rhoades, assistant teacher in the Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School; Kevin McNeill, internship placement coordinator in the Department of Sport Management; Megan Myers, assistant director of development in the Office of Advancement; Kathleen Nasto, office coordinator in the Department of Human Development and Family Science; Jessica Pitcher, career advisor and David Sly, associate director of career services in the Office of Student Services; Laura Sauta, administrative assistant and Megan Snow, internship placement coordinator in the Department of Public Health, and; Zachary Schuster, assistant director of undergraduate admissions and recruiting in the Office of Admissions.

It also welcomes five new faculty members, Justin Ehrlich, Chandice Haste-Jackson, Jeremy Losak, Stefanie Pilkay, and Xiafei Wang.

Justin Ehrlich Portrait

Justin Ehrlich

Assistant Professor, Department of Sport Management

Justin Ehrlich joins Syracuse University’s Falk College Department of Sport Management as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2019, where he will teach in the area of sport analytics.

Prior to joining Syracuse University, Ehrlich taught as an associate professor at Western Illinois University, School of Computer Sciences, since 2010 in Macomb, IL. There, he specialized in data visualization, visual analytics, sport data computation and analysis, machine learning, computer graphics, virtual reality, server-side development, languages and technology. He taught several courses such as Topics of Computer Science: Data Visualization, Operating Systems, Advanced Computer Graphics, Server-Side Development, and served as chair of the Council for Instructional Technology and chair of the IT Governance Executive Committee. He previously worked as an AViSSS (Animated Visual Supports for Social Skills) lead software developer for the University of Kansas and has held roles such as developer for Nomise Systems and lead developer for, both in Wichita, KS.

Ehrlich has published several papers in sport data visualization and analysis in Public Choice, Mathematical Social Sciences, Games, and the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport. He has conducted many talks and live demonstrations on sport data computation, visualization, and analysis that incorporate use of Tableau (with VizQL), R, Python, and D3.

Ehrlich’s research has received support from the U.S. Department of Education, the U3E, and from Falk College. He was awarded the Moore Best Ph.D. Dissertation Award from the University of Kansas School of Engineering, the Provost’s Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching with Technology from Western Illinois University, and several awards from WIU’s College of Business and Technology.

Ehrlich earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Kansas in 2010. His dissertation was titled, “The Effect of Desktop Illumination Realism on Presence and Generalization in a Virtual Learning Environment.” He also holds a computer science M.S. earned in 2007 from Wichita State University, and an accounting and business administration B.B.A., earned in 2004 from Friends University in Wichita, KS.

Chandice Haste–Jacksond Portrait

Chandice Haste–Jackson

Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Chandice Haste–Jackson is an associate teaching professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science beginning Fall 2019.

In addition to working as internship coordinator in Falk College since 2016, Haste-Jackson has served as adjunct faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Science since 2005, teaching courses such as Intimate Relationships and Gender Roles, Family Development, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She has also taught as adjunct faculty for Onondaga Community College and the American Public University/American Military University System Department of Human Development and Family Studies. She previously served in Syracuse University’s School of Education as director of the Liberty Partnerships Program and has held positions at the Chadwick Residence, Inc., the Dunbar Association, and Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc.

Haste-Jackson serves on the School Counselor Advisory Board for the Syracuse City School District and is a consultant for My Brother’s Keeper Syracuse initiative founded by President Obama.

Haste-Jackson has presented for the Society for Research on Adolescence in San Francisco, CA and the National Council on Family Relations in Orlando, FL. She has given presentations for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement in Washington, DC, the New York State Education Department Empire State Youth Summit in Albany, NY, Ethiraj College and Women’s Christian College in Chennai, India, as well as for the National Diversity Council’s Upstate New York College Diversity Summit in Syracuse, NY, among others.

Haste-Jackson’s work in urban youth development, vulnerable families, cross-cultural family dynamics, and diversity education has received support from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, New York State Legislature-Joan Christensen, Onondaga County Department of Long-Term Care and Aging Services, Onondaga County Youth Bureau, Onondaga County Department of Health, Onondaga County Department of Social Services, United Way of Central New York, and Syracuse University.

Haste-Jackson earned a Ph.D. in child and family studies from Syracuse University in 2013. Her dissertation was titled, “Strengths and Risk Factors for Romantic Relationships: Perspectives of African American Women.” She also holds a M.S. in behavioral sciences with a concentration in psychology, earned from Cameron University in 1999, and a B.A. in cultural anthropology, earned from Syracuse University in 1996.

Jeremy Losak Portrait

Jeremy Losak

Assistant Professor, Department of Sport Management

Jeremy Losak joins Syracuse University’s Falk College Department of Sport Management as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2019, where he will teach in the areas of sport management and sport analytics.

Prior to joining Syracuse University, Losak was a graduate assistant in the John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University. His teaching experience includes positions as teaching assistant for Sport Economics, teaching assistant and later head teaching assistant for Undergraduate Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics, and teaching assistant for Managerial Economics. In the sports industry, he was a baseball analytics consultant for Wasserman Media Group, marketing analytics consultant for The Madison Square Garden Company, and analytics intern for the Auburn Doubledays.

Losak’s research focus is in sports economics, particularly sport labor markets and betting markets. He is published in Managerial Finance and in the Academy of Economics and Finance Journal. He has given several presentations at venues such as the 2019 Eastern Economic Association Conference in New York, NY; the 2018 Southern Economic Association in Washington, DC; the 2018 Missouri Valley Economic Association’s Sports Economics Session in Memphis, TN, and; the Center for Research in Sports Administration’s Sports, Data, and Journalism Conference at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Losak is the recipient of a Junior Researcher Award for the 2018 Sports, Data, and Journalism Conference at the University of Zurich and the Distinguished Student Paper Award at the 2018 Missouri Valley Economic Association Conference. He is also the recipient of travel grants from the Institute for Humane Studies Hayek Fund and Clemson Graduate Travel Grant Service. He was named a 2016 Falk College Class Marshal and a Falk College Scholar while at Syracuse University.

Losak earned a Ph.D. in economics from Clemson University in 2019 where he was a Koch Fellow in the John E. Walker Department of Economics. He also earned a B.S. in sport management from Syracuse University’s Falk College in 2016.

Stefanie Pilkay Portrait

Stefanie Pilkay

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Stefanie Pilkay joins Syracuse University’s Falk College School of Social Work as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2019.

Before joining Syracuse University, Pilkay served as an adjunct lecturer at both Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York, NY since 2018 and the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work in Knoxville, TN since 2015, teaching research methodology, trauma theory and practice, lifespan and neurophysiological development, and human behavior in the social environment. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Atlanta, GA since 2017. She has served as a court-appointed special advocate for Anderson County Tennessee Juvenile Court. In 2014, she was a forensic social worker for the Community Law Office, Knox County Public Defender’s Office. Specific to her research experience, Pilkay has served since 2018 as an early investigator trainee on “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease,” an international cross-discipline research study with collaborations between Canada and the U.S.

Pilkay’s research interests include trauma, early-life adversity, inter-generational transmission of adversity, adversity and trauma mechanisms for risk and resilience in human development. She is published in the Journal of Social Work Education, the Journal of Social Service Research, and has given several peer-reviewed presentations, most recently at the 64th Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education in Orlando, FL, Connecting for Children’s Justice Conference in Murfreesboro, TN, the International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect in Prague, Czech Republic, and the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry in New York, NY. Pilkay’s work has been supported by the National Institute of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the University of Tennessee Health and Science Center.

Pilkay earned a Ph.D. in social work with a minor in graduate statistics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2017. She holds a M.S. in social work, an evidence-based interpersonal practice major with trauma treatment graduate certification, and a B.S. in social work with majors in honor’s social work and psychology, earned in 2014 and 2013, respectively, from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Xiafei Wang Portrait

Xiafei Wang

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Xiafei Wang joins Syracuse University’s Falk College School of Social Work as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2019.

Prior to joining Syracuse University, Wang served as a research assistant on “Evaluation of Chinese National Working Committee on Children and Women & the United Nations Children’s Fund Joint Child Friendly Spaces Project in China,” funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund: China since 2017, and on “Improving Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Health Outcomes: Integrative Family and Systems Treatment (I-Fast) Integrated Episode of Care Model” since 2014, funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services and Department of Developmental Disability.

Wang has published peer-reviewed articles in Social Work Research, Journal of Social Service Research, The Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, PsyCh Journal, Community Mental Health Journal, Child Psychiatry and Human Development, Child Abuse & Neglect, and Social Work in Mental Health, as well as multiple book chapters.

Wang recently presented at the 32nd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment in San Diego, CA, the Council of Social Work Education 64th Annual Program Meeting in Orlando, FL, National Association of County and City Health Officials 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA, the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development 2018 in Dublin, Ireland, ResilienceCon 2018 in Nashville, TN, and the Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., among other presentations.

Wang’s work has received support from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Big Cities Health Coalition, Central Benefits Health Care Foundation, and the Ohio State University College of Social Work.

Wang earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2019. Her dissertation was titled, “Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Trauma: A Mixed-Methods Study.” There, she also earned her M.S.W. in 2015. She earned a M.A. in social work and social policy from Peking University in 2012 and a L.L.M. from the Peking University Law School & The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Beijing, China and Lund, Sweden in 2011, where she was named valedictorian. She also earned a B.A. in social work from Peking University in 2009.

Welcome Class of 2023!


Otto with students moving in to a dormFalk College welcomes the Class of 2023 including 307 first-year and 20 transfer students who join 140 graduate students who are new as well. Welcome back to all Falk students who, this year, represent 40 states and 30 countries!

The entire welcome week schedule for new students can be found by visiting the Syracuse Welcome 2019 Guide.

2018-2019: A Year In Review


Newsletter of the Graduate Program in Food Studies

Volume 2

Inside this Issue

  1. Message from the Graduate Director
  2. Food Studies program hosts guest speaker series
  3. Graduate student highlights
  4. Alumni news
  5. Scrapbook

A Message from the Graduate Director

Evan Weissman PortraitLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi ac sem eleifend, fringilla nulla suscipit, pretium elit. Vestibulum sed velit purus. Nunc accumsan condimentum sagittis. Nulla vel lorem ac ipsum convallis aliquam vel accumsan justo. Mauris venenatis odio rhoncus egestas pharetra. Suspendisse imperdiet ullamcorper mauris, quis molestie lacus ullamcorper non. Vestibulum diam sapien, condimentum quis mattis in, condimentum eget leo.

Sed pretium neque nec ex efficitur vestibulum in at erat. Donec iaculis risus risus, sit amet molestie turpis tincidunt ac. Curabitur ultricies turpis quam, ac porta felis feugiat condimentum. Sed eget tincidunt justo. Sed ac metus ut lacus tempor semper eu in purus. Sed pharetra blandit semper. Nulla sit amet condimentum ante, sed mollis nulla.

~ Dr. Evan Weissman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Food Studies, Interim Graduate Director

Food Studies program hosts guest speaker series

A person presents to an audience under an outdoor tent
Dr. Seitu Jones leads a workshop at Brady Farms on October 6, 2018.
The Food Studies program hosted a diverse group of guests this year in collaboration with departments across campus. Topics spanned the field of Food Studies, and included experts in areas of food security, the human right to food, and food as activism through public art.

On October 4, St. Paul, Minnesota-based, 2017 McKnight Distinguished Artist, Dr. Seitu Jones gave a lecture titled “CREATE: Art, Act & Eat,” where he discussed how he draws from both food and activism to inspire his public art projects, and how these components bring about new community stories. On October 6, Jones led a hands-on workshop at local Brady Faith Farm connecting food stories and community art.

On October 30, Food Studies co-hosted a roundtable panel titled “Migrant Rights and the Labor of Food Justice, A Platica” with Dr. Steven Alvarez from St. John’s University Department of English, Crispin Hernandez from the Workers Center of CNY and Food Studies professor Dr. Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Steven’s scholarship contributes to ongoing research concerning literacy, foodways, immigration, and writing studies, focusing on the humanizing element of sharing food as a form of social care. The Workers Center of CNY discussed current labor and legal struggles of immigrant farmworkers in New York State. Dr. Minkoff-Zern’s interdisciplinary work on food and racial justice, transnational agricultural projects, and migrant health helped to frame contemporary social justice issues for migrant workers.

Two people present before an audience
Dr. Sarah Bowen and Dr. Joslyn Brenton present on February 14, 2019.

On October 31, Food Studies hosted Canadian food policy analyst and writer Wayne Roberts, who spoke about his time as manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council from 2000-2010. He presented on aspects from his book, “The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food,” about the relation of the global food system to climate change and economic disaster.

On February 14, the Food Studies program co-sponsored Dr. Sarah Bowen of North Carolina State University and Dr. Joslyn Brenton of Ithaca College as they presented their 2019 book, “Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It.” In their talk they urged folks to look beyond romantic images of family-style meals to find fixes to the food system that are fair, equitable, and nourishing.

One person presents before an audience
Dr. Jahi Chappell presents on April 8, 2019.
On March 26, the Food Studies program sponsored Dr. Carolin Mees, Architect and Food Systems Designer at the New School’s Parson School of Design. Dr Mees’ presentation, “Design for Food and Right to the City,” discussed the history of resistance to development in the Bronx since the 1970s and community responses in terms of claiming land and designing it according to neighborhood cultural preferences.

On April 8, the department hosted Dr. Jahi Chappell for a lecture on his 2018 book, “Beginning to End Hunger: Lessons on food security, transformation, and solidarity in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.” Dr. Chappell is a Senior Research Fellow of Agroecology and Agricultural Policy at Coventry University. He discussed the research he conducted on Brazil’s novel approach to ending hunger, offering ideas about how to enact policies that improve city food security.

Graduate Student Highlights

Maegan Krajewski

Maegan Krajewski portrait
Maegan Krajewski received a number of teaching honors this year.
Maegan Krajewski defended her thesis research, titled “Lunch Money: Understanding Community-Led School Food Programs in Regina, Saskatchewan,” on April 26. Krajewski was a Teaching Assistant for Food Studies courses and received a number of honors related to her teaching, including the Department’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant award, and a certification for University Teaching from the Future Professoriate Program of the Graduate School. Krajewski published an essay to the Graduate Journal of Food Studies December 2018 issue, titled “Everything for Sale Here is Dead,” in which she discusses the significance of including Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants in the Food Studies canon. In October, she presented preliminary findings from her thesis research at the Graduate Association for Food Studies annual conference, and will present her final thesis project at the 2019 ASFS/AFHVS conference in Anchorage, Alaska this June. The Falk College Poster Symposium featured Krajewski’s work in March, and she was also the recipient of the 2019 Roseane Viana Human Rights Paper Award for best graduate paper in the fields of food, nutrition, and/or health. Krajewski will continue her research as a graduate student of Social Sciences at the University of Regina in the fall.

Adrianne Traub

student presenting with TV monitor behind her
Adrianne Traub defends her practicum project in May.
Adrianne Traub defended her practicum research, titled “Assessing NY FarmNet Services and Organic Farmer Mental Health in New York State,” on May 7. Traub developed a survey that helped NY FarmNet identify the mental health needs of organic farmers in New York, and she also led a consulting workshop for farmers. Traub served as a Research Assistant for the Food Studies department and was also an Adjunct Professor for Agroecology at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Traub and her partner run Main Street Farms, a mid-size organic farm in Cortland, and Traub is beginning a blueberry farm this summer.

Katie Mott

Katie Mott served as a Graduate Research Fellow in the Lerner Center for Public Health and Promotion this year in addition to her role as a Teaching Assistant for Food Studies courses. Her research brief, “Lotta Food, No Money: Syracuse’s Poor Have Challenges that are Much Bigger than Food Access,” was published on February 12. In it, she discusses the findings from her research after the closing of a locally-owned grocery store in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood. Mott was interviewed on local station NPR about this work. Mott will defend her thesis research, also related to food access and the closing of the Nojaim Brothers grocery store, in summer 2019.

Cheyenne Schoen

Cheyenne Schoen conducted research with the Syracuse Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment agricultural partnership program for her thesis. In October she presented preliminary findings from her research at the 2019 Graduate Association for Food Studies conference, and will present the final version at the 2019 ASFS/AFHVS conference. She served on the editorial board of the Graduate Journal of Food Studies and as a Research Assistant for the Food Studies department.

William Cecio

William Cecio (B.S. 2017) served as Research and Teaching Assistants for Food Studies. His practicum research will involve urban food governance. He will present his research, “Urban Food Governance and Social Reproduction: A Literature Review” at the 2019 ASFS/AFHVS conference. Cecio has a bachelor’s degree from Falk College at SU in Food Studies.

Hanna Goldberg

Hanna Goldberg was a Teaching Assistant and plans to begin her thesis research on restaurant labor and unionization this summer. She has been accepted to present her research, “The Social Organization of Cuban Agroecology,” at the 2019 ASFS/AFHVS conference. Goldberg holds a liberal arts degree from Kenyon College.

Sara Weber

Sara Weber was accepted to present her research project, “Examining Food Waste in the Hospitality Industry: How Can Guests and Hotels Prevent and Reduce Food Waste at the Preparation and Consumption Points of the Food Supply Chain?” at the 2019 ASFS/AFHVS conference. She holds bachelors degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Utah State University and is the House Director of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity at SU.

Camila Ferguson-Sierra

Camila Ferguson-Sierra was a Teaching Assistant and her work, “Palm Oil, Food Insecurity, and Land in Colombia: A Literature Review,” was accepted as a 2019 ASFS/AFHVS conference presentation. Ferguson-Sierra has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Conservation Biology.

Maryssa Schlough

Maryssa Schlough is conducting research on school food programming in Onondaga County for her practicum project. Schlough comes to the program with background as a Youth Farm Educator for Montezuma Farm to School Program. She has a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in International and Global Studies.

Collin Townsend

Collin Townsend (B.S. 2018) plans to conduct his thesis research on the restaurant industry in Syracuse. He is a Research Assistant for the Food Studies department, an experienced chef with over a decade of experience, and owns CJT Food Business Consulting firm. He has worked as a research assistant on the FoodPlanCNY project and as a Workforce Educator at With Love Onondaga Community College. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Falk College at SU in Food Studies.

Alumni News

Briana Alfaro, MS, 2018 joined the staff of Northeast Organic Farming Association New York (NOFA-NY) as their Outreach Coordinator in Fall 2018. She is also beginning a flower farm in Syracuse.

Irma Nurliawati, MS, 2018 works as an Agri-Food Quality Inspector at the Plant Biosafety Division, Agricultural Quarantine Agency, Ministry of Agriculture in the Republic of Indonesia.

Hillary Chartron-Bartholomew, MS, 2018 works as the Director of Human Resources, Information Technology, Communications & Operations at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County.

Molly Ennist, MS, 2018 works as a budget analyst for the New York State Department of Education.


three students posed in a hallway
(Left to right): Cheyenne Schoen, Maegan Krajewski, and Katie Mott with their favorite mascot during Maegan’s thesis defense.
group shot of people at a dinner table
(Left to Right) Food Studies Internship Coordinator Elissa Johnson, graduate student Cheyenne Schoen, Professor Rick Welsh, and graduate student Hanna Goldberg attend a fundraising event for the Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment Organization.
Three people standing in a green corn field
Graduate student Cheyenne Schoen with Somali farmers in the RISE agricultural program.
Student talk with attendees in outdoor tent
Artist Seitu Jones leads a workshop at Brady Faith Farms related to public art and food justice.

Learn more about Food Studies

Browse our academic programs
Learn about our excellent faculty
Meet our students
Read about research our students are engaged in
Contact us

Food Studies program helps bring year-round fresh produce


Crops growing in a greenhouse
Inside look at Agbotic Farms’ greenhouse.
Students at the University’s dining centers may have noticed a fresh, new item on the salad bars: baby radishes and beet greens. The produce is sourced from Agbotic Farms, a local farm an hour north of campus in Sackets Harbor, New York. Purchasing from Agbotic Farms allows the University the ability to offer students fresh, locally grown produce year-round—difficult to achieve in the Northeast.

Earlier this year, the Food Studies Program in Falk College worked with the Adirondack North Country Association, a nonprofit that connects university and K-12 institutions with local farms, to bring to campus Kevin Richardson, Agbotic Farms executive vice president of sales and operations. Richardson met with Sustainability Management and Food Services staff, and Food Studies faculty, and a partnership was created.

Food Services and Sustainability Management staff took a trip to the farm to learn more about the operation. “The Food Services team was excited to make the visit to determine if their products would be a good fit for Syracuse University,” says Mark Tewksbury, director of residential dining. The University does its best to serve locally grown produce, but that has proven to be a challenge with New York’s short growing season.

Part of the review process involved learning if students liked the product. Food Services invited Agbotic Farms to share their produce at a Wednesday Feedback event at the Ernie Davis Dining Center this past February. Response to the baby greens was overwhelmingly positive. “The greens are new, fresh and a bit sweet,” remarked one of the student taste testers.

Read more about this partnership and the farm

Errant Son, Food Studies Major, Class of 2019


Errant Son Portrait

An Interview with Errant Son

Food Studies Major
Class of 2019

What is the focus of your interests in Food Studies? What did your practicum in Food Studies entail?
For my internship, I was among 85 other interns at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago. Each intern was placed in a different restaurant and would shadow the managers. I would attend weekly seminars with the other interns, where partners and corporate leaders discussed philosophies, values, and departments of the company. The interns also worked together in groups of 8 to create a restaurant concept project, and we presented them at the end of the internship at an expo where partners and corporate leaders judged and ranked the groups.

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
My favorite part of interning at Lettuce was the exposure I gained from the restaurant industry. I had many unique experiences! I had the opportunity to manage a crawfish food tent at Lettuce’s country and barbeque music festival, Windy City Smokeout. Lettuce also had a burger tent at Lollapalooza, where I was able to serve mass crowds of hungry festival attendees.

How did your Food Studies classes experiences/degree/internship prepare you to work in the broad field of Food Studies?
Through the food studies classes I have taken throughout college, I have found a passion for the social side of food systems. I enjoyed learning how food brings people together in a way nothing else can. The sensations from the flavors and environment are what made me realize that the restaurant industry is where I belong.

What’s next for you or what are you up to now?
After graduation, I would like to return to Chicago. I have an interest in working for special events and catering in the restaurant industry. Helping celebrate special life events through food is a field that I would find much joy in.

2019 Falk Student Research Celebration Takes Place March 26-29

Brooks Gump and Ivan Castro stand next to a research poster
Falk Family Endowed Professor in Public Health, Brooks Gump with 2018 poster session winner Ivan Castro, Graduate Student in Public Health

Falk students are invited to submit posters for completed or in-progress empirical, exploratory, policy analytic or hypothesis-driven research projects using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods for display, judging, and awards in the 2019 Falk Student Research Celebration March 26-29. The multi-day event will highlight Falk students’ research collaborations and their dedication to advancing research knowledge.

Poster entry forms are due March 7 and poster submissions are due March 21. Posters will be on display beginning March 26 near the second floor student lounge and the Falk Café on 2 in the Falk Complex, with judging and awards taking place March 27. Students will present their posters from 12 to 1 p.m. on March 27 and 28.

The Falk College Research Center promotes a robust, collaborative research community in which students play an active role. At Falk, graduate and undergraduate students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty to collect data, analyze findings and draw conclusions on relevant topics surrounding public health, food studies, nutrition, sport management, human development and family science, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

“Conducting research as a student has many benefits, including building a strong relationship with Falk faculty members, improving writing and statistical analysis skills, and creating connections both on and off campus,” says instructor Jessica Redmond. “Because much of the research in Falk College has real-world implications, we want students to be able to share their findings publicly, and the Falk Student Research Celebration is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

“The student research days is a great showcase of the work our students are doing to understand the world and the human condition,” says assistant professor David Larsen. “It’s always fun to see the new ideas that our students have, and how they are seeking to improve the world we live in.”

Assistant professor Bhavneet Walia agrees. “It’s a great way to quench your curiosity,” she says. “Come see what our students are up to at the Falk Student Research Celebration.”

Winners of the 2018 Falk Student Research Celebration, held March 27-30, 2018, included research in a wide range of topics, such as maternal health, accessibility, and PTSD.

For more information about the 2019 Falk Student Research Celebration, contact Amy Dumas at the Falk Research Center.

BrainFeeders connects local farms to Syracuse campus

Students at the BrainFeeders CSA
Students in BrainFeeders help coordinate the campus CSA

This fall, fresh, locally-grown produce made its way to campus each week through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Syracuse University, founded and operated by BrainFeeders, the first academically-recognized food studies student organization in the nation.

By connecting the campus to local farms, BrainFeeders hopes to deliver more than just great produce to the Syracuse campus. They strive to increase food access and sustainability, while encouraging peers to be more involved in food choices at Syracuse.

A CSA is a partnership between farmers and community members in which individuals purchase a share of a farm’s harvest, and in turn, the farm provides shareholders with seasonal produce. Direct exchange between farmer and consumer can help make fresh produce more affordable.

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of food studies and advisor for BrainFeeders. “The CSA model helps farmers sustain themselves through the season, while also connecting consumers, in this case university students, faculty, and staff, with a more intimate connection to a particular farm,” she says. “These consumers also learn what is available throughout the local growing season and are challenged to adjust their diets to seasonal availability, thus supporting our region’s agrarian economy and community.”

A standard CSA share from Common Thread Community Farm in Madison, New York feeds 2 to 3 adults and includes 8 to 10 items of produce each week. Common Thread has delivered $22,957 in shares to members of the Syracuse University and SUNY College Environmental Science and Forestry campuses since BrainFeeders created the CSA in 2015.

Falk College’s food studies program explores the political economy of food. Students are challenged to critically question who has access to farmable land, how food is produced, processed and transported to restaurants and homes, who has access to nutritious food, what happens to food waste, and what these factors mean for people and the planet.

“BrainFeeders strives to provide opportunities for students and faculty alike to build a stronger relationship with their food, where it comes from, and the people who provide it,” says BrainFeeders president Caitlyn Colton ’19. “We want to make a lasting impact on our campus by increasing access to local foods and opening a gateway for our community to learn about our food system so they can make more educated choices for themselves and their environment.”

A vibrant community of active student organizations brings Falk College to life, from the Nutrition Education and Promotion Association (NEPA) and the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), which promote health education and awareness on campus and in the community, to sport management special interest groups, such as the Sport Professionals of Color and the first collegiate chapter of WISE (Women in Sports and Events). The broader University is home to more than 300 student organizations.

Members of the Syracuse University and SUNY ESF campus communities who are interested in participating in the CSA fall 2019 may email to add their name to the waitlist. For more information about BrainFeeders’ campus CSA, visit the Falk College website.

Nicole Greco, Food Studies Major, May 2019


Nicole Greco portrait

An Interview with Nicole Greco

Food Studies Major
Class of May 2019

What is/was the focus of your interests in Food Studies? If you completed an internship, what did it entail?
I interned at Ophelia’s Place in Syracuse, NY as a student warrior. My internship entailed multiple interviews with experts in the field of eating disorders, disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction. I organized fundraising events to raise money and awareness for the non-profit. I also trained with the Body Project to be a certified support group facilitator for individuals interested in joining a community and connect with others through recovery.

What did/do you enjoy most about your experience with the Food Studies program?
I appreciate our food studies community. The professors, alumni, and current students all have a close relationship which is helpful in and outside of the classroom.

How did your Food Studies classes experiences/degree/internship prepare you to work in the broad field of Food Studies?
The courses in Food Studies range a plethora of topics. My knowledge in many different sectors of food allows me to pursue work in various fields. My internship with Ophelia’s Place helped me solidify my career goals and influenced me to continue my studies in graduate school.

What’s next for you or what are you up to now?
I am going to be attending graduate school in New York City next year to earn my master’s degree in Public Health. My career goals are to work towards educating and implementing healthy foods in primary and secondary schools.

Andrea Cornelius, Food Studies Major, May 2019


Andrea Cornelius Portrait

An Interview with Andrea Cornelius

Food Studies Major
Class of May 2019

What is/was the focus of your interests in Food Studies? If you completed an internship, what did it entail?
My Internship was at the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry. My duties were reaching out to the community inside and outside the campus to better understand food insecurity on the campus and in the community.

What did/do you enjoy most about your experience?
I enjoyed interacting with the community and fostering a connection to both students and community members, along with informing the public about “Free Bread Day,” an event that occurs every Thursday in the basement of Hendricks Chapel where bread and pastries from Panera would be given out for free to students.

Talk about a challenging or new experience you faced during your internship, how you managed it, and what you learned as a result.
My biggest challenge was trying to set up an event to raise funds for the Pantry. As I had originally suspected, it took a lot of communication and understanding from both ends to try and make it work.

How did your Food Studies classes experiences/degree/internship prepare you to work in the broad field of Food Studies?
The internship provided me with a better sense of justice and understanding for communities and people who suffer from food insecurity. I learned that there will have to be more done to ensure that everyone can be fed other than having a food pantry available.

What’s next for you or what are you up to now?
After graduation, I’d like to see if I can get an occupation somewhere around Washington, DC, or really any major city doing something regarding sustainability, working with a non-governmental organization, working with a farm-to-fork organization, or teaching and spreading awareness about the food system and how it can better serve the citizens it’s supposed to serve.

Page 1 of 7