Harker headshot

Emerson Fellow

Laura Harker

19th Class, 2012-2013

Field Placement: Children’s Health Watch (Boston, MA)

Laura assisted the Children’s HealthWatch team with research and advocacy efforts. She conducted interviews with immigrant advocacy and service organizations to write a report on very low food security among children of immigrants in Baltimore, Boston, Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. Laura also created a policy brief on the potentially harmful effects of immediate SNAP benefit loss or reduction for families who increase their income.

Hunger-Free Community Report:

Food Security Among Children of Immigrants in Five U.S. Cities provides a overview of factors that may contribute to the higher rates of food insecurity among young children with at least one foreign-born parent compared to young children with U.S. born parents. The report consists of city profiles for Baltimore, Boston, Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia and discusses immigrants’ high household employment, diverse educational backgrounds, potential language barriers, low-wage jobs, and food access.

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

Laura developed a guide for expanding participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through community based outreach. She also coordinated online surveys of state agencies and family child care home sponsors to gather input on best practices for nutrition and wellness in CACFP.

Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:

A native of Beaufort, NC, Laura graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with a degree in health policy and management. As an advocate for health equity, Laura was a lead organizer for the annual Minority Health Conference, served as health chair for the campus NAACP chapter, and participated in an alternative spring break trip to Atlanta focused on urban poverty. She also worked on a statewide initiative at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to promote healthy and affordable foods in convenience stores in low-income communities.