Smith headshot

Emerson Fellow

Megan Smith

26th Class, 2019-2020

Megan graduated from Davidson College with a degree in political science. While at Davidson, she developed a deep interest in exploring comparative politics, economics, and histories that define urban and rural food landscapes. Her research includes looking at Brazil’s Agri-food industry, urban food insecurity in South Africa’s Cape flats, and China’s Food Safety Regulatory System. In the last two years, Megan has interned with the US-Asia Institute and the American Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam where she took part in various outreach initiatives on matters relating to US and Southeast Asian agricultural trade relations.

Field placement: University at Buffalo Food Systems Planning & Healthy Communities Lab

Buffalo, New York

Megan completed her field work with The University at Buffalo Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, a research team that views food systems as a lever to collaborate with local government and community advocates on facilitating, equitable, healthy and sustainable communities both locally and globally. Megan worked alongside the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) to examine the barriers local food organizations face in education and building capacity among food system stakeholders. Through a series of field interviews with representatives from MAP, Megan proposed recommendations and an implementation plan targeted at both local governments and MAP to develop systematic and comprehensive responses to improving an equitable local food system.

Policy placement: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washington, D.C.

At USDA, Megan worked with the Supplemental Food Programs Division(WIC) Policy Branch. She worked heavily on tracking and monitoring the COVID-19 WIC Waiver Requests from 89 state agencies and Indian Tribal Organizations (ITO's) in the National Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Program (SNAS) tracker. Beyond COVID-19, Megan worked on several projects including facilitating the Annual Special Project Grant Meeting, designed a New-Hire onboarding toolkit, developed and reorganized a new file structure for WIC's Policy Branch shared drive.

Publications & Blog Posts