Sakeenah grew up in San Diego, California, and graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in philosophy. She spent two summers doing plant biology research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where she explored growth mechanisms in plants and its relation to food production. While at Georgetown, she consecutively served with the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students to bring forth creative programming related to medicine, health disparities and community engagement. Since graduating, Sakeenah has delved into various learning opportunities, most recently as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year- Seattle/King County.
Field placement: Jesuit Social Research Institute
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sakeenah completed her field work with the Jesuit Social Research Institute (JSRI) at Loyola University New Orleans, a group dedicated to transforming the Gulf South through action research, analysis, education, and advocacy. She worked closely with JSRI’s Economic Policy Specialist to author an economic, social, and health analysis of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Louisiana. This analysis was complimented by the SNAP Story Bank Project, a compilation of 50 interviews that turned into a website and a short film highlighting the experiences of SNAP participants and advocates in 5 parishes across the state. In working closely with food banks, farmer's markets, faith-based groups, and community organizations, this report and story bank aimed to highlight the importance of SNAP and the need for improved food access in Louisiana.
Policy placement: National Conference of State Legislatures
Sakeenah worked with the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan non-governmental organization established to serve the members and staff of state legislatures in the United States. She supported their Hunger Partnership and Task Force on Immigration with research, writing, legislative tracking, and conference planning for both groups. Her writing assignments covered hunger and food waste, SNAP incentives and restrictions, disaster-SNAP, military hunger, and blog posts on their annual meetings.