Born and raised in the Bronx to immigrant parents from the West African nation of The Gambia, Mariama Badjie graduated with honors in community health education and a minor in public policy from Hunter College in New York City. Mariama first faced tough questions about racial and socioeconomic equity when she found herself at one of New York’s nine elite public high schools, where black students made up only 4% of the student body. Since then, Mariama has found her passion in health equity, and continues to do work around education access in her Bronx immigrant community. As a student at Hunter, Mariama was the outreach intern in the Community Wellness Department at Sauti Yetu Center for African Women, where she connected the Bronx’s West African immigrant communities to free health education programs. Mariama also works to empower American Muslim youth through a number of community organizations.
Field placement: Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
Mariama completed her fieldwork at the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC), an organization that brings together stakeholders from across the greater Pittsburgh food system and related sectors to develop comprehensive food policy approaches. During her time at PFPC, Mariama supported the completion of the Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan (GPFAP), a comprehensive agenda for a regional food system rooted in collaboration, community, and equity. Mariama helped the GPFAP Project Core enter its final stages, which included data collection and analysis, prioritizing the final set of policy recommendations, and writing plans to implement the recommendations.
Policy placement: Swipe Out Hunger
Mariama worked with Congressional Hunger Center and Swipe Out Hunger on two projects as part of the organizations’ strategic partnership. Mariama conducted interviews with student leaders within the Swipe Out Hunger network and profiled their stories in a set of case studies on successful college student advocacy. These case studies are one part of a larger toolkit on student advocacy. Mariama also worked with the Hunger Center and Swipe Out Hunger to launch CollegeSNAPProject.org, an interactive resource to help college students determine their eligibility for SNAP, apply for benefits, and connect with organizations in their state that look out for college students’ food security needs.