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Piper profile: An Garagiola-Bernier ’19

Student creates initiative to address food insecurity on campus

When An Garagiola-Bernier ’19 attended a teach-in soon after transferring to Hamline in 2016, she heard students discuss how food insecurity was affecting their ability to learn. Many, she found, were first-generation college students like herself.

Knowing firsthand the ways that food insecurity can impact one’s life, Garagiola-Bernier cofounded the Feed Your Brain Campaign, which provides food for students in need through pop-up pantries and Foodmobile visits on campus and educates about the realities of student poverty.

In 2018, Garagiola-Bernier received the Newman Civic Fellowship for her work with the campaign. She’s also been featured in Teen Vogue and written op-eds on college food and housing insecurity that have been published by Community College Daily, Fox News, and The Washington Post.

Age: 37

Major
: Women’s studies and sociology

Hometown
: Hugo

Why Hamline: The prestige of Hamline entices one with dreams of upward mobility. I used to live on the corner of Van Buren and Snelling, and I could see Hamline from my apartment. I had friends who went to Hamline, but I never had the means to go. Then, in 2016, I was named a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, and that scholarship affords me the privilege of earning a bachelor’s degree.

Collaborative research: I received a grant in the summer of 2017 for collaborative research with Professor Colleen Bell. The project was a comparison of campus-based food pantries through indigenous feminisms. As a descendent of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, food sovereignty is tightly woven to my ideas for ameliorating campus hunger. My research was presented at local, regional, and national conferences. That project serves as the foundational knowledge that I brought to discussions about Hamline's food pantry model.

What’s next: I applied to several PhD programs. I'm interested in pursuing policy research as it relates to education and social mobility.

Dream job: I told the executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation that I want his job someday. Imagine having a job dedicated to giving people the means to pursue their dreams!

Favorite class: Special Topics: Health Equity, taught by Professor Susi Keefe in coordination with Family Tree Clinic. It provided students the opportunity to conduct a community-based research project centered on reproductive justice and to create deliverables for the client. This course provided hands-on, practical experience unlike any course I’ve taken.

Favorite quote: “Hope is the power of being cheerful in situations we know to be desperate.” —Anne Lamott