Valpiani headshot

Emerson Fellow

Natalie Valpiani

12th Class, 2005-2006

Natalie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in international studies and French. She was recognized by the Atlantic Coast Conference for her academic and athletic excellence, performing all four years as a varsity gymnast. Natalie worked for various campus organizations on fundraising and marketing activities designed to promote campus participation in community service. At the 2003 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, she presented Quit Playing, You’ll Spoil your Dinner! The Impact of Youth Sports on Childhood Eating Behaviors, a paper which was published in Nurture. She interned at Minnesota FoodShare, volunteered in Tanzania on HIV prevention and rural resource management, and served as a trip leader for a mission to Miacatlan, Mexico, a freshman mentor, and a math tutor for disabled children.

Field placement: Community Farm Alliance

Louisville, Kentucky

Natalie worked to increase access to fresh, locally grown foods in low-income neighborhoods of West Louisville by supporting two neighborhood farmers’ markets.  She organized goal-setting meetings that empowered farmers and neighborhood residents to create new partnerships for the 2006 season.  To ensure that women and children of all income levels could access local food at the markets, Natalie researched the need for and potential benefits of the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) for Louisville Metro and created tools to educate the community about the program.  She also presented on the myths of industrial agriculture at the 2005 Healthy Food, Local Farms conference and collaborated on an urban food systems bus tour for the 2006 Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Conference.

Policy placement: Catholic Charities USA

Alexandria, Virginia

Natalie worked as a member of the Social Policy Department at Catholic Charities USA, where she focused on immigration research, and works on projects related to the 2007 Farm Bill and the Food Stamp Program.  Natalie compiled data on immigration trends and politics in selected states, and conducted interviews with Catholic Charities member agencies nationwide to gather their experiences, successes and challenges in providing services to immigrant and refugee families.