Cárdenas-Navia headshot

Emerson Fellow

Cecilia Cárdenas-Navia

12th Class, 2005-2006

Field Placement: Utahns Against Hunger (Salt Lake City, UT)

Cecilia conducted a community food security assessment of Ogden, Utah with the goal of identifying barriers to food access.  This multilevel project examined both the resources and limitations of the city while building partnerships with community leaders and residents.  She designed a bilingual survey tool to collect quantitative data on food services, transportation, and community health; locally based organizations in Ogden distributed the questionnaire to their clients, generating interest among residents and amassing 116 responses.  Cecilia also interviewed local human service providers and city advocates to promote the importance of anti-hunger work in grassroots advocacy.  Utilizing GIS technology, she created a food map of the city, ultimately drawing media attention to the food desert in downtown Ogden.

Hunger Free Community Report:

Making Stone Soup: Community-Driven Efforts to End Hunger in Utah is an educational booklet that highlights community food security models, specifically local wellness policies and assessments, as complements to emergency food and federal food and nutrition programs.  This compilation of pictures, articles, and data illustrates creative partnerships and grassroots initiatives that are helping to reduce instances of food insecurity and hunger among low-income Utahns.

Policy Placement: Alliance to End Hunger (Washington, DC)

Cecilia worked on two projects, both dedicated to building political constituencies and momentum in the anti-hunger movement.  For the Presidential Project, she researched potential presidential candidates for the 2008 election and identified methods to motivate them to include hunger and poverty as part of their campaign platforms.  Her second project, Heroes for the Hungry, aimed to enlist members of Congress as active champions for hunger issues; to this end, Cecilia planned “hunger tours” to inform national leaders and help build political support.  Cecilia also contributed to other Alliance endeavors, including the “got breakfast?” campaign and the Hunger Message Project.

Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:

Cecilia graduated with distinction from Yale College in 2005 with a dual degree in History of Science, History of Medicine and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration.  She served as an ethnic and freshman counselor at Yale, facilitating discussions about the role of race and ethnicity in cultural and academic life.  Cecilia has worked abroad in Bolivia, done extensive scientific research at the National Cancer Institute and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and combined her scientific background with her humanitarian interests to improve college preparatory curricula for disadvantaged youth in Connecticutand Texas.