Williamson headshot

Emerson Fellow

Emma Williamson

26th Class, 2019-2020

Emma was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. before relocating to Oklahoma City to attend Southern Nazarene University, where she developed her passion for economic justice, specifically as it pertains to rural and isolated food inequity. During her time in Oklahoma, Emma served as the Community Initiatives Administrative Coordinator at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma which exposed her to a broad range of food justice and hunger alleviation programs including direct involvement with Oklahoma’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and the Food Bank’s robust Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). For the past year, Emma has worked alongside the Kansas Department of Children and Families to manage the CSFP caseload for over 1,400 seniors monthly while managing a large on-site community garden, providing fresh and organic produce directly to the agency’s food pantry and community kitchen. Her role at this agency allowed her to work alongside community members and local coalitions to continue helping folks gain access to food and nutrition programs in Kansas.

Field placement: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Emma worked with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, a Feeding America member that works alongside a network of over 490 partner agencies throughout 46 counties in Middle and Western Tennessee. She worked closely with rural partners in Second Harvest’s network to strengthen existing agency capacity through the promotion and expansion of federal programming including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). With the specific needs of smaller communities in mind, Emma also worked toward piloting rural-specific nutrition programming to ensure access to healthy food for all people in Tennessee.

Policy placement: Center for Law and Social Policy

Washington, D.C.

At the Center for Law and Social Policy, Emma worked to support the Job Quality team through qualitative research and policy analysis to identify strategies to improve existing policies, implementation, and technical assistance regarding paid leave laws. Emma partnered with labor coalitions across the country to interview essential workers in order to document the changing nature of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emma authored several blogs and publications during her time at CLASP including a set of recommendations on how paid family and medical leave policies can strengthen work support and income programs to ensure laws are not further entrenching economic disparities.

Publications & Blog Posts