Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health


Food Studies Doctoral Student Biographies

Scott Alves Barton

Scott Alves Barton is a doctoral candidate in Food Studies program. Though born and raised in Connecticut, most of his life has been spent here in NYC. He holds a B.F.A. in Metalwork and Jewelry from Washington University. Scott has worked for more than twenty-five years as an Executive Chef, Restaurant and Product Development Consultant, and, Culinary School Teacher. Ebony Magazine named Scott one of the top twenty-five African-African American Chefs. Scott has been a fellow of Instituto Sacatar in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil and the Tepoztlán Institute for Transnational History of the Americas in Tepoztlán, Mexico. His research focuses on the intersection of secular and sacred foodways of Northeastern Brazil as a marker of cultural and ethnic identity. Scott has been awarded various grants to support his research:

Sierra Burnett

Sierra is a doctoral candidate in Food Studies. Her interests lie in the intersection of culture, commerce and materiality and in the multiple, intertwined systems of value that operate in the production and evaluation of food products. Her dissertation analyzes the politics of ‘quality’ and the meaning of heritage and craft through the study of American whiskey. Sierra holds a B.A. from Brown University in International Relations, graduating with honors, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a Grand Diplôme in Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute. She has worked as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and as an editor at Saveur magazine, and she currently serves on the boards of FoodCorps and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Diana Caley

Diana Caley is a doctoral student in the Food Studies program. Diana graduated magna cum laude from George Washington University with a B.A. in International Development and minor in Economics. Diana served in the Peace Corps in Morocco, and has worked and conducted research on food security and economic development in Egypt, Iraq, Peru, Uganda, Tanzania, and Yemen. Her research explores urban food and nutrition security and the cultural, socioeconomic, behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to nutrition disparities within urban households in Uganda. Diana has won the following grants to support her graduate research:

Grace Choi

Grace Choi is a doctoral candidate in the Food Studies program. Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Economics in 2003, and from the French Culinary Institute in New York City with a Grand Diplome of Classic Culinary Arts in 2004. Grace's graduate studies commenced in the Fall of 2006 at NYU as a Master's level student before entering the Ph.D program one year later. For her dissertation research, Grace takes a psychological perspective to explore the role that food plays in the experience and expression of ethnic identity. Outside of her graduate studies, Grace participates in private and media-related cooking instruction. She is the host of the Cooking Channel's short form program Cooking with Grace.

Shayne Leslie Figueroa

Shayne Leslie Figueroa is a doctoral fellow in the Food Studies program. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., she received a BA in American Studies from LafayetteCollegeand earned a MA in Humanities and Social Thought at New York University's Draper Program. Shayne's current research focuses on food and families during the postwar period inAmerica. Her dissertation work will be a social history of the National School Lunch Program (1946-1966.) In addition to her PhD work, Shayne is currently the administrator for theTaubCenter for Israel Studies at NYU.

Sara Franklin

Sara B. Franklin is a doctoral fellow in the Food Studies program. Originally from suburban New York, Sara completed her BA in history and community health atTuftsUniversity. After a stint studying health promotion in Kwa-Zulu/Natal, South Africa during her junior year, Sara became deeply interested in the intersections of food, environment, agriculture, health and history. Ever since, she has worked to integrate those fields as a farmer, activist, freelance writer, baker, and educator throughout theU.S.and inBrazil. In December of 2011, she earned a certificate in non-fiction writing and multi-media from the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and she is currently at work on her first cookbook together with a Rio de Janeiro based chef, activist and restaurateur. Her primary focus is on personal and community oral histories about food and identity, and presenting them through print, audio and multi-media outlets.

Hi'ilei Julia Hobart

Hi'ilei Julia Hobart is a doctoral fellow in the Food Studies program. She holds an MA in Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture from theBardGraduateCenterand an MLS in Archives Management and Rare Books from the Pratt Institute. Her broad research is concerned with how print and electric media frames indigenous foodways in nineteenth-century settler colonial contexts. Her dissertation research explores the politics of ingestion, representation, and materiality in colonial Hawaii. 

Kelila Jaffe

Kelila Jaffe is a doctoral candidate in the Food Studies Program.  She received a BA with distinction in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, before attending the University of Auckland, where she earned an MA (honours, second class, first division) in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology.  Kelila's research interests include past foodways, domestication, and zooarchaeology and she has conducted fieldwork in Fiji, New Zealand, and Hawaii.  She is currently conducting research for the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  Originally from Sonoma, CA, Kelila is also a professional chef, and the Food Program Coordinator at NYU.  Kelila has won several grants and awards to support her research:

Anne E. McBride

Anne E. McBride is the culinary program and editorial director for strategic initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America and the director of the Experimental Cuisine Collective. She is the co-author of two cookbooks with famed pastry chef François Payard, and of Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food and Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home. She regularly writes on topics related to professional and experimental cooking, including contributions to Gastronomica, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, and Food Cultures of the World. McBride is working on her PhD in food studies at NYU and sits on the board of the Association for the Study of Food and Society.

Katherine Magruder

Katherine Magruder is a doctoral fellow in the Food Studies program.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins, where she studied oboe at the Peabody Institute.  While at Johns Hopkins, Katherine forged an academic program to follow her interests in cultural anthropology, music, and food history.  Anthropologist Dr. Sidney Mintz and musicologist Dr. Susan Weiss became Katherine’s mentors.  She received a research internship with the Culinary Historians of New York and a grant from the provost at Johns Hopkins to conduct a study on how people in the Americas responded to categorically “Italian” food and music in the nineteenth century.  She read anthropology at Oxford University during her senior year, where she was a member of St. Catherine’s College.  Katherine is interested in history of aesthetics, cultural exchange, and the concept of taste.

Jaclyn Rohel

Jaclyn Rohel is a doctoral candidate in Food Studies.  She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, as well as a Masters degree in Philosophy from the University of Alberta, where she studied the philosophy of the body and taste.  Her research interests focus on the politics of food and taste within the context of space, globalization and transnational media cultures.   Jaclyn's current project examines migration and the negotiation of public spheres in global cities through the study of culinary stimulants and intoxicants.  Since joining the doctoral program in Food Studies on a Steinhardt Doctoral Fellowship, she has been awarded a Steinhardt Dean's Grant for Student Research, a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and a Provost's Graduate Fellowship to study at NYU’s Global Research Institute in London in 2012

Stephanie Rogus

Stephanie Rogus is a doctoral fellow in the Food Studies program. She received her BS in Nutrition from the University of Texas at Austin, graduating from the Coordinated Program in Dietetics where she completed training to become a Registered Dietitian.  She subsequently earned her MA in Food Studies at New York University. Stephanie has worked with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the NYU School of Medicine on various projects aimed at evaluating the impact of health policy on populations and promoting health. Her broad research interests include food access for low-income populations with a focus on the role of affordability and preference within the context of social and behavioral influence. She has received several awards supporting her research:

Daniel Bowman Simon

Daniel Bowman Simon is a doctoral fellow in the Food Studies program.

Christy Spackman

Christy Spackman is a doctoral candidate in Food Studies. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology with an emphasis in Chemistry from Brigham Young University, a Professional Cookery Certificate from Kendall College, and a Masters degree in Food Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research currently focuses on the disappearing border separating food from medicine, with a special focus on how the entanglement of visual, textual and scientific that occurs on food packaging contributes to consumer understanding of food as medicine.  

Christy has taught a variety of classes, including Essentials of Cuisine, Techniques of Regional Cuisine, Food Systems, Internships in Food, Nutrition in Food Studies, and Research Methods.

Christy has received several grants to support her research: