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Student-faculty team go international to address food insecurity policies

July 06, 2017

Contact:  Michael Tullier, APR
Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Members of the study abroad team
Members of the study abroad team visit with Meritxell Serret (center),
Catalonia’s minister of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and food. Pictured with Serrett is
(left to right) Thiam, Morgan, Clark, Baharanyi, Mangeli and Zabawa.

Five Tuskegee University students are dispelling the myth that summers are for relaxing and hanging out by the pool. Instead, they will spend eight weeks in Italy and Spain working with international, cross-disciplinary to help solve policy issues addressing global food insecurities.

The five-student team includes Tristeen Bownes, a graduate student from Los Angeles majoring in environmental science; Candace Clark, a graduating senior from Chicago majoring in agribusiness and international relations; Laurie Mangeli, second-year veterinary medicine major from McKinney, Texas; Carl Morgan, a graduate student from Los Angles majoring in environmental science; and Danielle Smith, a graduate student from Selma, Alabama, majoring in environmental science.

They departed on June 1, first for Bologna, where they will engage with the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences at University of Bologna to research the policy structures of food security and food waste management from a comparative perspective. Later, in Barcelona, they will share with a select group of students and faculty from around the world new and emerging trends in how policy — both domestic and international — shape much of the debate surrounding how governmental and non-governmental institutions address some of today’s most significant global challenges, including food waste and food insecurity.

This international study abroad opportunity is a result of the university’s membership in the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies. ICRPS brings together an international, multi-disciplinary group of faculty, students and professionals to study the many facets of rural policy — from policy formulation to policy impacts. The group’s travel expenses are paid by ICRPS as part of its participation in the program. This opportunity for Tuskegee University students to work on the global stage, and ICRPS’ financial investment in their international experience, speaks highly of the university.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to apply classroom experiences in tangible, global and life-changing ways,” said Thierno Thiam, an associate professor in Tuskegee University’s Department of History and Political Science. “This is truly a testament to the quality of students and instruction at Tuskegee.”

Underscoring the cross-disciplinary nature of the program are the faculty who will travel with the students. In addition to Thiam, the group will include Professor Ntam Baharanyi and Research Professor Robert Zabawa — both of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

As part of this experience, two of the students —Bownes and Smith — will travel to Bologna ahead of their peers to work on a food security and food waste project. The pair were selected for the opportunity on the basis of their strong performances in past ICRPS Institutes.

ICRPS recently confirmed that Tuskegee University will host its 2018 summer institute, due in large part to the university’s rich history, the quality of Tuskegee’s current and past institute student participants, and the organization’s confidence in the university’s faculty and their contributions to previous ICRPS institutes. The 2018 summer institute will attract students, researchers and policy practitioners from around the world under them theme of “Social Justice, Rural and Natural Resource Policy.”

More information about ICRPS, visit its website at

© 2017 Tuskegee University