Originally from Silverton, Oregon, Marie-Therese graduated from Seattle University with a degree in international studies and a minor in Latin American studies. After graduating, she worked as a Jesuit Volunteer to preserve affordable housing and protect tenants’ rights in San Francisco at an eviction defense clinic. In college, Marie-Therese served as a student leader to facilitate an alternative spring break immersion in migrant farm worker communities in Washington. She volunteered for a bilingual gardening and nutrition program and interned on a community farm in Ecuador where she implemented an arts/environmental education program at a local school and studied community development issues.
Field placement: Idaho Hunger Relief Taskforce
Marie-Therese updated and finalized the Cultivate Idaho online toolkit making it accessible online for use by communities across Idaho, including those in very rural and geographically disparate areas. Cultivate Idaho is a 10 month initiative that guides communities through the process of determining their food security needs and implementing tangible, community-wide next steps through which to address those needs. She also assisted in the facilitation of the Cultivate Idaho Network, a statewide representation of leaders from diverse sectors serving as an advisory body to the Initiative, in addition to participating in the process of vetting a second community to undergo Cultivate Idaho.
Policy placement: Feeding America
Marie-Therese conducted a series of focus groups and a survey to engage local food banks in increasing their capacity for advocacy. Based on the information gathered, she authored a report with recommendations for the development of an advocacy capacity re-granting strategy and compiled a toolkit of grassroots advocacy resources. She also developed a senior hunger needs assessment toolkit to help food banks as they expand and develop new programs to meet the needs of low income seniors.