Allison Karpyn receives Fulbright to study global food insecurity
Allison Karpyn, associate director of the Center for Education Research and Social Policy (CRESP) and associate professor of human development and family studies is the most recent University of Delaware faculty member to be named a Fulbright Scholar.
Karpyn will spend time during the next two years traveling between the islands of Eleuthera and New Providence in the Bahamas to analyze the issue of food insecurity at a national level. “It exciting to help a nation where food security is a challenge get needed data,” she said.
During her time abroad, Karpyn will work to establish a measure of food security and will aid grassroots movements to measure the impact of their efforts.
“When I saw that there was a Fulbright hoping to tie together the issues of agriculture and health, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to apply,” she said.
Karpyn had been remotely volunteering to support a small nonprofit foundation in the Bahamas, One Eleuthera, for several years.
According to her, food insecurity is a particularly critical issue for island nations like the Bahamas that do not grow or produce the majority of the food that is consumed. “Obesity and hunger are two sides of the same coin. In a small island nation, there is less room to grow food, and less funding for heathy food marketing,” Karpyn said. “Food security and the importance of local food takes on a whole new meaning.”
Food security, she said, means “not only just having enough to eat, but also having the right kinds of food.”
Karpyn, who will be affiliated with the University of the Bahamas, hopes to be able to adopt an interdisciplinary approach, “connecting the dots between environmental change, commerce, agriculture, poverty and hunger” to understand the overarching state of food insecurity on the island nation.
Of her future Fulbright experience, she said, “I think this may create a really nice connection between our University and the nation of the Bahamas. Students could potentially become involved in some of the work, in island agriculture and food insecurity in the Caribbean.”
She also noted that the award will create a doorway for UD to be able to share expertise in a new area of the world while inviting experts there to share information with the University.
In addition to her global research efforts, Karpyn also studies corner store programs in urban areas, in-store marketing approaches in supermarkets to encourage the purchasing of healthier foods, and other related subjects.
Her most recent research has been on the benefits that low income families receive at farmers markets and efforts to develop a partnership with the Brandywine Zoo to develop “Tastimals,” zoo-animal characters designed to make healthy food more appealing to children.
“My interest in healthy food started at home as a child, but really advanced thanks to the Food Trust, a non-profit in Philadelphia,” said Karpyn, who served as director of research and evaluation at the agency for over 11 years. “Their work really advanced my understanding of how to connect programs and research.”
Karpyn is now an official member of the UD Fulbright Society, honoring members of the University community who have won the illustrious Fulbright award. Other inaugural members in 2016 include four undergraduate and graduate students who received Fulbrights this year.
About the Fulbright Initiative at the University of Delaware
The Fulbright Program annually provides 8,000 grants for research or teaching in one of over 140 countries throughout the world. Established by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946, the program seeks to foster international partnership and cultural exchange by funding research and teaching opportunities worldwide.
More than 150 members of the University of Delaware community have received Fulbright Awards.
In addition, the University welcomes Fulbrighters from around the world for research and graduate study, with students hailing from Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Mexico, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.
This summer, the University will welcome students from around the world for a week-long Fulbright Gateway Orientation administered by the Institute for Global Studies (IGS).
For more details on Fulbright at the University of Delaware, visit the IGS website or contact Lisa Chieffo, associate director for study abroad and UD’s Fulbright Program adviser.
Article by Nikki Laws