There are a number of ways in which students may become involved in the activities of the Hunger Center; as employees, outreach workers, or through for-credit opportunities (e.g., internships, independent study, honors projects). Employment opportunities are frequently available for students to work in the center or out in the community. Office workers assist staff in all aspects of the outreach project, developing materials, tracking data, and preparing for trainings. Outreach workers are trained to work with community agencies to educate and assist low-income individuals about nutritional assistance programs available to them and their families.
Internships / Independent Study / Honors Thesis
Students may receive credits for “hands on” education with an individual project or group collaboration. Many students are required, through their major or minor area of study to complete independent study credits or an internship. These may be arranged through their department and in conjunction with the Hunger Center. Students may propose a topic of study or they may solicit ideas from the staff at the center. Examples of activities in which independent study/interns have participated include writing press releases, researching policy initiatives both locally and nationally, compiling data on specific hunger-related topics for publication, developing our web site, conducting literature reviews and/or data analysis of specific research related questions.
In addition, students have become involved in research projects including interviewing low-income families with young children, the elderly, and the working poor as well as those who work with these individuals in service fields. Many of these projects are conducted in coordination with other RI agencies, for example, the RI Community Food Bank, the RI Health Department and the RI Department of Human Services. Other courses require a community service component and again, these efforts can be arranged through the Hunger Center in conjunction with faculty members. Students may volunteer at local food pantries, soup kitchens, or food distribution sites or they may become actively engaged in a specific hunger-related event (e.g., food drive, hunger banquet, conference participation). For information about for-credit opportunities, contact Professor Kathleen Gorman. Students who have or are in the process of completing an internship, independent study, or Honors Thesis include (partial list):
- Songvath Nay, Human Development & Family Studies, Internship, Summer 2014
- Duncan Stiller, Health Studies Major, Honors Project, 2014
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- Amanda Algarin, Psychology & Family Studies, Hunger Center Intern, Spring 2010
- Andrea Russell, Pharmacy, Honors Project Thesis, Fall 2009
- Ana Orellana, Human Development & Family Studies, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Outreach Project Intern, Fall 2009
- Jenny Allen, Human Development & Family Studies, Intern at Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, RI, Summer 2009
Nicole Gunderson, Music, Spring 2007
Dorothy Shackleton Anti-Hunger Leadership Award
On May 16, 2014, graduating senior Ruddy Olivo was presented with the Dorothy Shackleton Anti-hunger Leadership Award for his outstanding work at the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America. Ruddy, who graduated with a degree in Engineering began working as a SNAP outreach worker in the fall of 2009. As an outreach worker, Ruddy became a familiar figure throughout the state, assisting low income individuals, many of whom were Spanish-speaking, to access SNAP benefits. Ruddy was instrumental in helping new outreach workers become comfortable in the field and was responsible for developing a novel outreach effort by visiting laundromats on weekend mornings, handing out laundry bags and talking to families about SNAP. Ruddy was always ready to lend a helping hand, and frequently assisted in call in days on the Spanish radio and TV stations.
The Anti-Hunger Leadership Award is given to students who demonstrate extensive knowledge of hunger and poverty issues and who use their skills to participate in education and outreach activities in the community. The fund was started with a donation by Dorothy Shackleton, a former employee with the Department of Human Services.
Previous recipients have included:
- Beth Wilmarth, Spring 2005, Human Development & Family Studies
- Lauren Wagner, Spring 2006, Nutrition & Dietetics
- Jeff Albanese, Spring 2008, Sociology & Political Science
- Leah Murphy, Fall 2009, Nursing
- Jenna Berube, Spring 2011, Journalism, Sociology & Nursing
- Alison Smith, Spring 2012, Ph.D., Psychology
- Justin LeBlanc, Spring 2013, Biology/Philosophy
- Ruddy Olivo, Spring 2014, Engineering