INFAS Graduate Fellows Program (IGFP)- Pilot Program: September 2018 – June 2019 

 

The purpose of the Inter-institutional Network for Food, Agricultural and Sustainability (INFAS) is to accelerate the transition to sustainable food systems, including social justice, through collaborative networks linking academic institutions with other sectors of the food system. To work towards our vision for a US food system that is environmentally sustainable and socially just, we developed the pilot INFAS Graduate Fellows Program (IGFP) to engage early career scholars at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), who are poised to become sustainable agriculture and food system leaders, in work examining racism and other forms of structural inequity in the US in relation to food systems, agriculture, labor, food sovereignty, sustainability and nutrition.  

Several key objectives for developing this program to connect INFAS to graduate students and their faculty mentors include: 

  • Networking and amplifying critical and important scholarship and practice that centers structural racism and inequity within the food system. 

  • Creating additional avenues to disseminate and recognize the work of scholars at HBCUs and TCUs.  

  • Growing and diversifying the people, work and institutions in the current INFAS network. 

  • Improving science at the intersections of inequities (especially racism) and food, food systems, and sustainable agriculture via diversification of people and paradigms and via networks that are more extensive. 

 

For the pilot year of IGFP (2018-2019) the three scholars selected by the INFAS review committee are: 

  1. Kimberly Carr, Master’s in Public Health, Morehouse School of Medicine, PhD Candidate in Integrative Biosciences at Tuskegee University; Tuskegee, Alabama 

  1. Monyai Chavers, Master of Arts candidate in Political Science at Howard University; Washington, D.C. 

  1. Lindsey Lunsford, Master’s in Environmental Management, Western Colorado; PhD candidate in Integrative Public Policy and Development at Tuskegee University; Tuskegee, Alabama 
     

Eligibility for this first year was limited to applicants currently enrolled as a graduate student at an accredited and recognized US Historically Black College or University (HBCU) or Tribal College or University (TCU) institution and pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in a relevant area to this program.  Fellow appointments are for one academic year and fellows receive a $4,000 stipend to be used at their discretion while fulfilling the terms of the fellowship. To fulfil the objectives of the program activities include regular cohort check-ins with INFAS staff and assigned mentors; participation in a webinar to convey their work to the Network and engage in further dialog; an education or extension experience (e.g. attending a relevant meeting) selected by fellows; and writing of an op-ed or popular print article communicate to a broader network. Additional professional development opportunities may be co-created between fellows and the INFAS Coordinator and INFAS mentors assigned to each fellow.  

Applicants submitted a brief application to confirm eligibility and a two page essay that described their interests, experience, priorities for the fellowship and their career goals. They also described the specific project that they would undertake during the fellowship year. The INFAS selection committee used a number of criteria to evaluate the applicants, their current work and potential for future impacts, such as:  

  1. The level of relevance of the applicant’s research or practice to intersections of structural racism and inequity within sustainable agriculture or food systems  

  1. Alignment of goals between the applicant and the Mission and Vision of INFAS 

  1. Evidence of passion and motivation to be an INFAS fellow and commitment to the mission, vision, and objectives of the fellows program and INFAS 

  1. Evidence of ability to serve as a representative of INFAS with respect to advocating and communicating the importance of sustainable agriculture and food systems and intersections with issues of equity