Cecilia graduated with distinction from Yale College in 2005 with a dual degree in History of Science, History of Medicine and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. She served as an ethnic and freshman counselor at Yale, facilitating discussions about the role of race and ethnicity in cultural and academic life. Cecilia has worked abroad in Bolivia, done extensive scientific research at the National Cancer Institute and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and combined her scientific background with her humanitarian interests to improve college preparatory curricula for disadvantaged youth in Connecticut and Texas.
Field placement: Utahns Against Hunger
Salt Lake City, Utah
Cecilia conducted a community food security assessment of Ogden, Utah, with the goal of identifying barriers to food access. This multilevel project examined both the resources and limitations of the city while building partnerships with community leaders and residents. She designed a bilingual survey tool to collect quantitative data on food services, transportation, and community health; locally based organizations in Ogden distributed the questionnaire to their clients, generating interest among residents and amassing 116 responses. Cecilia also interviewed local human service providers and city advocates to promote the importance of anti-hunger work in grassroots advocacy. Utilizing GIS technology, she created a food map of the city, ultimately drawing media attention to the food desert in downtown Ogden.
Policy placement: Alliance to End Hunger
Cecilia worked on two projects, both dedicated to building political constituencies and momentum in the anti-hunger movement. For the Presidential Project, she researched potential presidential candidates for the 2008 election and identified methods to motivate them to include hunger and poverty as part of their campaign platforms. Her second project, Heroes for the Hungry, aimed to enlist members of Congress as active champions for hunger issues; to this end, Cecilia planned "hunger tours" to inform national leaders and help build political support. Cecilia also contributed to other Alliance endeavors, including the "got breakfast?" campaign and the Hunger Message Project.