Williams headshot

Emerson Fellow

Ayanna Williams

15th Class, 2008-2009

Field Placement: Hunger Task Force (Milwaukee, WI)

Ayanna worked to make SNAP/food stamp benefits more accessible to low-income residents of Milwaukee County.  She conducted research and identified best practices for improving the speed and quality of the application process, and assisted food pantries with SNAP/food stamp outreach activities.

Hunger Free Community Report:

An Exploratory Assessment of FoodShare Modernization in Milwaukee County documents the modernization efforts used in Milwaukee County and several other states to increase efficiency and accuracy within the SNAP/food stamp system.

Policy Placement: Food Research and Action Center (Washington, DC)

Ayanna worked with state groups to monitor the effects of new policies and benefit increases in the food stamp/SNAP program enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She assisted state advocates, studied the impact of the changes on state and local advocacy efforts, and tracked new outreach activities. She also analyzed SNAP participation and practices in 25 large cities in order to update the annual report Food Stamp Access in Urban America: A City by City Snapshot.

Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:

Originally from Bowie, Maryland, Ayanna graduated from Colgate University in 2008 with degrees in geography and sociology. She has served as an Upstate Institute Fellow, residential advisor, and Manzi Fellow. She also studied social policy in the U.S., Australia, and Uganda and conducted geographic, biological, and public health research in Uganda.