Born in Sudan and raised in Philadelphia, Methany graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and nutrition. During her time at Penn, she was active in board positions at minority organizations on campus, including the United Minorities Council, Black Student Association, the African American Arts Alliance, and the Muslim Student Association. She volunteers to serve the Philadelphia community at food pantries like Bebashi and Francis Inn, and was active with Community Champions, a student-led organization at Penn created to promote the health of the community in West Philadelphia. Last year, she completed a fellowship with Nutritional Development Services, a federal program aimed to reduce food insecurity in Philadelphia. Methany is passionate about increasing access to safe and healthy foods in low income populations and public health education and promotion.
Field placement: Community Food Bank of Central Alabama
Methany worked in Birmingham, Alabama, with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, which partners with food organizations to increase access to food and necessities across different counties. Her work in the field centered on the design and implementation of a partner agency network assessment, which measures the capacities of different agencies and allow the Community Food Bank to create new programs and interventions tailored to their interests and needs. Methany also assisted with an internal transition to a new nutrition ranking system, designing nudge interventions to encourage healthier food choices, and working with farmers markets to promote awareness and use of SNAP benefits.
Policy placement: Food Research & Action Center
At the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Methany worked with Ellen Vollinger of the SNAP/Legal team to increase their capacity to impact SNAP policy. FRAC is a national nonprofit organization that aims to eradicate food insecurity and undernutrition across the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Methany tracked state SNAP waivers and monitored the national response to the pandemic in increasing access to SNAP benefits. Her findings were used to update a comprehensive guide in Disaster SNAP built by FRAC. Methany also hosted a webinar and published an article surrounding college hunger during the pandemic. Her experience with FRAC showed her the complex processes of effecting change through food policy.