Experiences at Quinnipiac inspire career dedicated to community-led sustainable solutions to food insecurity

April 15, 2021

Anna Ciacciarella smiles as she holds up a pepper in a field

An abiding love of the natural world motivated independent major Anna Ciacciarella '21 to pursue environmental studies at Quinnipiac. However, her program soon became a vehicle for her to combat food scarcity in underprivileged communities.

“The most inspiring thing I’ve learned at Quinnipiac has been environmental justice, which is an important and necessary piece to environmental sustainability,” Ciacciarella said.

The independent major program gave Cacciariella the freedom to tailor her learning to her interests. By adding second major in English, in addition to minors in political science and sociology, she was able to understand problems of environmental inequity with a multidisplinary lens. She credits her favorite course, The Nature Essay, with improving her ability to communicate about issues that matter most to her.

“That course really helped me find my voice and break me out of my shell,” Ciacciarella recalled.

As a food security intern at the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Ciacciarella had many opportunities to address food insecurity in the local community. She is most proud of her work in Quinnipiac’s Food Recovery Program, in which she helped distribute excess food from the university to Hamden residents through Haven’s Harvest, a local food bank, in 2019.

“This program allows Quinnipiac to make a measurable difference in the Hamden community while also promoting sustainability on our campuses,” Ciacciarella said.

In the fall of 2021, Ciacciarella will enter graduate school at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She hopes to become a professor and research community-led sustainable solutions to food insecurity while shaping future leaders who share her passion for environmental justice.

“I am confident and excited to begin my next chapter in graduate school, and I know that Quinnipiac has prepared me for a bright future,” she said.

Learn more about our partnership with Haven's Harvest in the video below:

Havens Harvest

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