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Emerson Fellow

Michelle Fausto

28th Class, 2021-2022

Michelle Fausto is a recent graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where she studied Political Science and Labor Studies. During her time at UCLA, she interned at the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, a local organization through which she engaged in citywide anti-homelessness advocacy and direct service work in food distribution and vocational training. Michelle also completed the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program last summer, where she devised a policy memo addressed to the San Francisco Food Security Task Force concerning the growing number of food insecure individuals in San Francisco, California. As a first-generation, low-income daughter of Mexican immigrants, Michelle’s experiences growing up in a disinvested agricultural community in the Coachella Valley and living in poverty-stricken Los Angeles have directly exposed her to poverty- and hunger-related issues that she hopes to work on during her time as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow.

Field placement: UCI Basic Needs Center

Irvine, California

Michelle completed her field work at the FRESH Basic Needs Hub at UC Irvine in Irvine, California. Her work focused on collaborating with the CalFresh team to create a comprehensive outreach strategy meant to increase awareness about CalFresh/SNAP among student populations vulnerable to basic needs insecurity. Michelle's work also focused on interpreting survey and post-outreach data to ensure best practices for future events moving forward, with the goal of increasing the number of eligible students enrolled in the program.

Policy placement: American Public Human Services Association

Washington, D.C.

Michelle Fausto is working with the American Public Human Services Association to support efforts around strengthening and modernizing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administration. She is leading interactive planning sessions and consultations with SNAP agency leaders at the state and local level to identify priority challenges and opportunities ahead of the 2023 farm bill. These consultations will inform the development of internal documents and briefs that will be shared with APHSA SNAP administrators, summarizing policy recommendations for the upcoming farm bill.

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