Yepez-Zavala headshot

Emerson Fellow

Laura Yepez

24th Class, 2017-2018

Laura was born and raised in East Los Angeles. At the University of California, Berkeley, Laura majored in American Studies, an interdisciplinary major which allowed her to learn about communities, policy, and planning. Laura also has a minor in Landscape Architecture. While at Berkeley, Laura fundraised for several organizations and became the Fundraising Manager for Youth Spirit Artworks, a non-profit that serves homeless youth in South Berkeley. She was also part of Oakland Unified School District’s Rethinking School Lunch Initiative, which revolutionized school lunches for all of Oakland’s schools. After she graduated from Berkeley, Laura was active with the 2016 election and joined an urban-planning firm called MIG.

Field placement: La Casa Norte

Chicago, Illinois

Laura was placed at La Casa Norte (LCN) in the Humboldt Park community of Chicago. Laura worked on various projects during her time at LCN, which included a Community Referral program and a Community Hunger Assessment. Her main project focused on the development of programs for LCN’s Nutrition Center, which included a hot meal program, a food pantry, a health and wellness center, and other ways to involve the community.

Policy placement: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washington, DC

Laura developed a manual for Residential Child Care Institutions to guide the centers in the implementation of the National School Lunch Program. She also worked on other materials that were distributed to regional and state offices as well as individual partner sites.

Hunger Free Community Report

"Food as Medicine: Linking Hunger Relief with Healthcare" details the ways in which emergency food programs can help end hunger by partnering with the medical field to provide their clients more services. Additionally, Laura provides examples of best practices from LCN and other organizations from across the country.

Publications & Blog Posts