Martinez headshot

Emerson Fellow

Valery Martinez

24th Class, 2017-2018

Valery was born and raised in San Jose, CA, and graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in human development and a minor in nutrition. Valery dedicated her summers to serving low-income and racially/ethnically diverse communities in her hometown while being an advocate for social justice issues at school. Most recently, she helped organize the 5th Biennial National Latino Cancer Summit to help promote collaboration between community health workers and leading researchers in precision medicine. Last year she traveled abroad to Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina, comparing public health models to understand the important role that social health determinants play at an individual, community, and policy level.

Field placement: San Diego Hunger Coalition

San Diego, California

Valery worked at the San Diego Hunger Coalition (SDHC) with the director of school meals to expand federal youth meal programs across San Diego County. Through Youth Meals Task Force meetings, she collaborated with community leaders, city officials, organizers, and school representatives to design a series of food resource guides—in both English and Spanish—to increase access to nutritious and culturally appropriate foods for youth and their families.

Policy placement: Center for the Study of Social Policy

Washington, DC

Valery joined the Policy Team at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) where she researched and monitored current legislation on immigration and food security. Among other projects, she created a policy brief for local and state leaders to help address food insecurity in immigrant and mixed status households, analyzed drafts of the proposed regulation to expand the definition of public charge, and supported CSSP’s involvement in the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign.

Hunger Free Community Report

"The Community Champions Guide" is a resource designed to help community leaders connect local youth programs to federal meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The toolkit integrates input from parents, students, and community leaders to ensure that it is user-friendly and community driven. The guide will supplement other SDHC toolkits that will soon be released to organizations and agencies interested in sponsoring meals or becoming meal sites.

Thank you to the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation for providing support to the 24th Class of Emerson National Hunger Fellows’ work on child food insecurity.

Publications & Blog Posts