Roberts headshot

Emerson Fellow

Xavier Roberts

27th Class, 2020-2021

Homeschooled until college, Xavier graduated with his associate’s degree from Piedmont Virginia Community College at the age of eighteen before traveling to India for six months to study yoga and meditation in advance of completing a year of service as a third grade teacher in Southeast Washington, D.C., with the AmeriCorps program, City Year. Subsequently, Xavier completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia, majoring in Global Development Studies, before relocating to Hawaii to teach eighth grade special education as a Teach For America corps member. After four years of teaching, Xavier began his transition into a career in social justice, public policy, and community development, becoming an inaugural Oramenta Newsome Fellow with Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where he served families experiencing homelessness. Simultaneously, Xavier began interning on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Before becoming an Emerson Fellow, Xavier interned full-time with the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, where he further developed his knowledge of food and agriculture national public policy.

Field placement: Washington Food Coalition

Seattle, Washington

Xavier completed his field placement with the Washington Food Coalition, a member organization striving to end hunger in Washington state by being a platform for advocacy, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices in the anti-hunger arena. Xavier's project at WFC was to help restructure the Board of Directors to make it more effective at equitably and inclusively combating hunger statewide while ensuring the financial wellbeing of the Coalition. To do this, Xavier conducted independent research in tandem with numerous interviews with stakeholders in anti-hunger work across Washington, including leaders of food banks, food pantries, national philanthropies, and other non-profit coalitions that operate at the state and national level. Xavier also participated in statewide and local anti-hunger coalition meetings as well as various trainings around exemplary non-profit board structure as he considered recommendations to make WFC's Board of Directors an even more effective catalyst in the fight against hunger.

Policy placement: National Conference of State Legislatures

Washington, DC

Xavier worked with the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-partisan non-governmental organization established to serve the members and staff of state, territory, and commonwealth legislatures in the United States. He supported their Hunger Partnership and Task Force on Immigration with research, writing, and legislative tracking. His writing and research assignments included Child Nutrition Reauthorization, immigration policy at the southwest border, SNAP incentives and restrictions, Pandemic-EBT, and immigrant essential workers during COVID-19.