Chancellor Linda Katehi: Congratulations to the Second Class of UC President Global Food Initiative Fellows

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science building and the Good Life garden. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science building and the Good Life garden. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

President Janet Napolitano recently announced the second class of UC President Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows.

The fellows are part of the University of California Global Food Initiative which was launched in July of 2014 by President Napolitano, together with the UC’s 10 Chancellors. It aims to addresses one of the most critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. Through research, policy discussions and community engagement, the initiative aims to expand access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

In its inaugural year, 54 undergraduate and graduate students were awarded a $2,500 fellowship grant that funded research, projects or internships that focused on food issues. With the first year being a huge success, the program was extended into a second year, with 44 fellows receiving an increased stipend of $4,000.

Let me introduce you to the GFI fellows from UC Davis:

Forest Ryan Dowdy (GFI fellow – class of 2015, 2016), a graduate student in food science, his 2015 project focused on using microbial fuel cells to covert organic wastes into electricity through electron-producing bacteria. In 2016, he will use his research and expand it to look at how the microbial fuel cells can power sea water desalination.

Sophie Sapp Moore (GFI fellow – class of 2015), a graduate student in cultural studies, her project examined food security for the Papaye Peasant Movement in Haiti.

Jessica West (GFI fellow – class of 2015), an undergraduate student in the department of Entomology and Nematology, is looking at ways to use genomic techniques to manage Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) and reduce the amount of insecticide used by farmers.

Nick Doherty, (GFI fellow – class of 2016), an undergraduate student studying computer science and engineering, Nick was recently noted as Apple’s “20 Under 20” for his work in creating the Study Cal app, a student class organizer. He has also created apps such as the Aggie Health that helps students track nutrients and calories.

Aria Wexler, (GFI fellow – class of 2016), an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in clinical nutrition, will work with Student Health and Counseling Services, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Ryann Miller, and Campus Health and Wellness to increase programs on food advocacy and nutrition education for students.

For a complete list of the 2016 GFI Fellows from all the UC campuses, visit here.

Congratulations again to these bright young scholars and innovators. Your work will help develop technologies and practices that will answer the question of how we will feed a growing and changing world.

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