Ms. Jessica Soldavini, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, is the winner of the inaugural Engaged Scholarship Prize in the graduate student category. She received a $500 award during the North Carolina Campus Compact (NCCC) 2020 PACE Conference.
The brainchild of UNC-Greensboro Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., the Engaged Scholarship Prize – given by the Compact in partnership with UNCG – recognizes scholars whose academic work seeks to address public issues and engage communities in collaborative processes that produce or apply knowledge. These scholars must also advance service-learning and civic engagement in higher education and disseminate their work to a broader public. The prize recognizes one full-time faculty member and one graduate student.
As a student, Ms. Soldavini fights child hunger by evaluating and implementing programs that expand food security and improve nutrition. In particular, she focuses on increasing access to underutilized federal child nutrition programs through her work as a graduate research assistant with No Kid Hungry NC. To improve the Summer Food Service program, for example, she partners with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, analyzing data to create county-level profiles, conducting an annual survey of summer feeding sponsors and sites, and sharing her findings at the agency’s SummerPalooza! Summits.
Since 2016, Ms. Soldavini has worked with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to grow the district’s Food for the Summer Meals program, serving as part of the leadership team, conducting a formal program evaluation and broadly sharing the program model.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 20