Blankinship headshot

Emerson Fellow

Kate Blankinship

27th Class, 2020-2021

Originally from Memphis, Kate graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a major in Linguistics and minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. As an undergraduate, Kate was heavily involved in public service, working with local pre-schools and CBOs while also pursuing independent and supervised research on anti-poverty, child welfare, and other social welfare programs. As a research assistant, Kate analyzed poor civil litigants’ access to the federal legal system, the availability of public health resources in tribal communities and in U.S. territories, and the resilience of SNAP and Medicaid in the current administration. After graduating college, Kate served with Americorps, working with the nonprofit College Possible in Chicago where she advocated for and mentored high school seniors as they navigated the college application and scholarships processes.

Field placement: Alabama Arise

Montgomery, Alabama

Kate is working with Alabama Arise, researching childhood nutrition by talking to child nutrition professionals and community members about their experiences with Community Eligibility Provisions (CEP) in Alabama public schools. Using data as a backbone, Kate will develop a research report and accompanying video that places at the forefront the voices of those who work directly with school nutrition programs and benefit from the National School Lunch Program and/or CEP. In addition, Kate is compiling a data report that looks at week-by-week impact of COVID on food insecurity in Alabama, broken down by household subgroups and subsequent public health factors, such as housing security and mental health.

Policy placement: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washington, D.C.

Kate Blankinship's work with the USDA focused on identifying the best practices for Residential Child Care Institutions such as temporary shelters for abused children and runaway children, long-term care facilities for chronically ill children, and juvenile detention centers. In this role, she also strived to ensure easy access to relevant guidance and develop a searchable database of current FNS policy.