Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Joel graduated with college honors from Washington University in St. Louis in 2020 with a major in anthropology: global health and environment and a minor in sociology. Before leaving home, he developed a deeply-rooted passion for advocacy while providing in-home medical care for his terminally-ill father. During his time at WashU, Joel was a member of the John B. Ervin Scholars Program, supported first-year students as a Resident Advisor, served as a student representative to the university’s Board of Trustees, and volunteered with a community mentoring program called City Faces in the St. Louis area. Over multiple summers, he built off of these experiences by resettling refugees and asylees with World Relief Seattle, lobbying for various anti-poverty programs as a REAL Change and Advocacy Fellow with RESULTS, and working on Capitol Hill for Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06).
Field placement: Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative
Joel works with the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI), a practical legal research action center dedicated to advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development and cultural food traditions in Indian Country. In this role, he researches the continuing impacts of COVID-19 on Native American food and agriculture while creating educational materials for Tribal governments that explore potential policy interventions and support policy implementation. Additionally, Joel develops resources based on IFAI's Model Tribal Food and Agriculture Code that provide Tribal governments with information on keeping food local, improving food access, and resolving food systems supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.