April 15, 2015

Meet the Next Generation Delegation 2015

The Chicago Council is pleased to introduce the 2015 Next Generation Delegates. This year’s Delegation is comprised of 18 outstanding students from universities across the US and around the world studying agriculture, food, health, and related disciplines. We are thrilled to feature these emerging leaders in global food security and nutrition at the Global Food Security Symposium 2015.
Dana Boyer
Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
PhD, Science, Technology and Public Policy

What are the goals of your research?
“My research aims at understanding urban food flows to help cities ensure a sufficient food supply to meet the health needs of their citizens. Understanding the resource requirements of city food systems is the first step towards securing future supply. With the information that footprinting provides, my research aims at providing a framework that informs and guides tangible city action to minimize supply risk and environmental impact while ensuring the nutrition and health needs of their citizens are met on a sustained basis.”
Diana Caley
New York University
PhD, Food Studies and Public Health
What are the goals of your research?
“My dissertation explores the nature and measurement of food insecurity among slumdwellers in Kampala, Uganda, where I am conducting extensive qualitative and quantitative fieldwork. The ultimate aim of my research is to better understand the complex linkages between urban food systems, food and nutrition policy interventions, and health outcomes. Upon graduation, I see myself making the most significant contributions as an ‘integrator’ who brings together researchers, policymakers and practitioners from various disciplines in order to achieve a common vision.”
Tony William Carr
University Duisburg-Essen and Radboud University in Nijmegen
MSc, Transnational Ecosystem Based Water Management

What solutions do you think will ensure that the world can nutritiously feed 9 billion people by 2050?
“Opportunities for tackling growing food demand might be found in new investments in agricultural systems and infrastructure. However, using already existing resources in a more efficient and sustainable way might be also a possibility. In this respect, the degree of the potential use of already existing capacities in agricultural food production systems needs to be estimated.”
Kate Collins
Harvard Kennedy School and MIT Sloan School of Management
MPA-MBA, Public Administration and Business

What do you believe to be the best approach to addressing global malnutrition?
“Addressing hunger and malnutrition in Africa is a matter of not only increasing the quantity of available calories, but also the diversity of available food. Nutritional diversity ensures that children and pregnant women receive an adequate array of micronutrients for human development. Many projects focus primarily on the first issue: increasing the quantity of calories available to poor families through projects that deliver emergency relief, or help smallholders improve their grain yields. Why staple crops like maize pack a heavy calorie-to-hectare punch and often it fits local preferences, these projects nurture a risky reliance on a small set of crops.”
Elise Julia Ellinger
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
BS, Human Nutrition and International Development Economics

What do you believe to be the best approach to addressing global malnutrition?
 “My experiences so far have convinced me that ensuring global food security requires a breadth of measures, from the lab to the field, in order to attain sustainable solutions to these pressing problems. As I look forward to pursuing graduate studies in public policy and international development, I seek to further explore innovative strategies for addressing the scientific, social, and economic issues surrounding micronutrient deficiencies worldwide. A food secure world will require that boundary lines between sociologists, food chemists, economists, and public health specialists are blurred as professionals embrace the multifaceted issue of global development.”
Martin Joel Erzinger, Jr.
University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business
MBA, International Agribusiness

What solutions do you think will ensure that the world can nutritiously feed 9 billion people by 2050?
“Performance is rightly a top priority as rising populations and diminishing natural resources will test the ability of companies and countries to meet the increasing demand for food. However, simply targeting crop performance is no longer enough. Looking ahead to daunting challenges as well as technological breakthroughs, only an approach that integrates all stakeholders in the agricultural value chain can lead to holistic changes that will allow the global food system to meet the increasing nutritional needs of consumers.”
Megan E. Fenton
Purdue University
MS – PhD, Agronomy

What are your long term career goals?
“As an aspiring plant breeder I will perpetually utilize the model set by HarvestPlus for my future plant breeding and genetic goals. This strategy is not only successful and developing more nutritious food systems, but could help me achieve my long term career goal of improving global food security through plant breeding and genetics.”
Matthew M. Graziose
Columbia University
PhD, Behavioral Nutrition

What do you believe to be the best approach to addressing global malnutrition?
 “Bringing together food guidance and agricultural policy helps to facilitate conversations about food security. Sustainable dietary guidelines are one of the first steps to promoting both personal and ecological health based on the most recent findings of environmental and nutritional science. As the world continues to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals, more attention must be placed on nutrition education for its role in promoting health and food security; sustainable dietary guidelines remain an important first step towards this goal.”
Soumya Gupta 
Cornell University
PhD, Applied Economics and Management   
What are the goals of your research?
“Very little research has systematically examined the connection between farming systems and the empowerment of women, relative to men, specifically in the domain of agriculture. While women’s empowerment influences choices made in the realm of agriculture, it can also influence nutritional outcomes, which in turn may influence women’s productivity. The existing literature has relied on singular aspects of women’s empowerment like education, control over income and over assets at the time of marriage to explain nutritional outcomes. However a comprehensive account of how women’s empowerment in agriculture mediates micronutrient intake has been lacking.”
Afton Marina Szasz Halloran
University of Copenhagen
PhD, Sustainable Food Systems

What do you believe to be the best approach to addressing global malnutrition?
 “In many areas of the world agri-food systems are more concerned with the quantity produced over the quality and nutritional value of food when addressing food insecurity. This often results in foods of low nutrient density, a lack of dietary diversity, as well as unsustainable farming practices and consumption patterns. There is a growing need for more nutritionally adequate diets which are respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, and economically accessible. However, the specific causal relationships between food supply chains and their socio-economic impacts on nutrition and livelihood are still not well understood.”
Kelly J. Hodgins
University of Guelph
MA, Food Systems and Food Security

What are the solutions that will ensure that the world can nutritiously feed 9 billion people by 2050?
“Tackling food waste is the most logical solution to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. However, this task is not the responsibility of charities. They cannot be expected to solve food waste challenges or cure hunger and malnutrition. For as long as the industrial food system is left unchecked to overproduce and operate inefficiently, the rip in the balloon spreads. For as long as the public believes that supporting charities with token donations will provide them adequate resources, the band-aid strains.  Until we turn our attention to root causes of hunger and waste, the health of the planet and our hungry neighbors will spiral like this burst balloon down a crash-course.”
Bettie Sindi Kawonga
University of Kentucky
PhD, Dairy Systems Management

What are the goals of your research?
“Dairying has shown potential for dietary diversity. Enterprises such as dairy production, which provide a regular source of income, are providing the platform for increased purchase of diversity of foods. Despite the many decades of dairy farming in Sub Saharan Africa, the productivity of smallholder dairying has remained relatively low due to a lack of appropriate dairy research. Although the smallholder dairy play an important role in milk production, the effects of the different breed raised, feeding regimes, nutrition and cow management on greenhouse gas emissions, nutritional quality of milk and its links to human health has not been quantified. Lack of research in impacts of dairy intensification on human nutrition and health as well as milk handling and utilization creates a lot of tradeoffs without proper strategies for long term nutritional and health goals. “
Erin Lenhardt
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
MBA, Agribusiness

What are the solutions that will ensure that the world can nutritiously feed 9 billion people by 2050?
 “I believe that business holds a crucial key to addressing both current and impending food security challenges. As an MBA student, food entrepreneur, and Kirchner Food Security Group investor, I am interested in using capital as tool for driving important changes and innovations in the way our world thinks about food production."
Nampeera Esther Lugwana
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
PhD, Plant Sciences and Management

What are the goals of your research?
“Amaranth, just as other African leafy vegetables, is a staple food to many African and Kenyan households. The consumption of amaranth helps balance vitamin and mineral intake and serves as an inexpensive rich source of protein and dietary fiber. In making people aware of amaranth as a nutritious food, action research approach should be used as a driving force to initiate learning in communities and this will open up avenues for future intervention. Food acceptability and adoption of amaranth as food source play an important role in these intervention strategies through the use of awareness, innovation and diffusion strategies.”
Andrew Margenot
University of California, Davis
PhD, Biochemistry

What do you believe to be the best approach to addressing global malnutrition?
“Central to my professional goals as a soil scientist is making use of existing smallholder knowledge to identify successful soil management strategies. Smallholders are facing significant crop production challenges because soil degradation by nutrient mining and erosion threatens the resources basis of food production. To maintain and improve their land productivity, farmers need to invest in soil management, but they often lack the tools and opportunities to do so. To address these issues, my work on food security in East Africa facilitates the capacity of smallholders to improve soil management through participatory, bottom-up approaches."
Tara Mittelberg
Northwestern University            
BS, Biological Anthropology

How can students and young people contribute to improving global nutrition?
“Colleges are brimming with student activists hoping to make a difference. If I can help my fellow students understand what it will take to feed the world, they’ll engage their friends and start to make a difference. I don’t want my generation to be the one to turn their backs on a sustainable solution to world hunger because of lack of information or apathy. By educating young intellectuals about the power of agriculture, we can become the generation of change.”
Rosalino Molina
Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School
MPP - MBA, Food Distribution

What do you believe to be the best approach to addressing global malnutrition?
“Many developing countries are witnessing an increase in urban populations, which shifts people from farms with fresh produce to urban areas with more processed food options. A combination of limited education and scarce nutrient-rich food alternatives leads low-income individuals to face deteriorating health conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure. My post-graduate school goal is to establish a scalable business that increases the availability of healthier food options in urban areas.”
Ronald Leo Sullivan Jr.
Kansas State University
BS, International Agribusiness

What are your long term career goals?
My main goal in life is to have an influential career in the field of international development to help those who live in poverty and lack control over their own future. Ending poverty is a very complex issue with many components. However, creating food systems for improved health reaches into major areas of development such as education, employment and even self-sufficiency.”


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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