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Student Biographies

PhD, Food Studies

Juan Carlos Sánchez Herrera born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Juan earned his BA in Economics and History and MA in Social Anthropology from Universidad de los Andes. His academic and professional experience are in different fields such as Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Quantitative Researcher, Credit Risk Analyst and Freelance writer on various projects that allow him to offer a multidisciplinary approach to his research interests.

Juan's research project examines how ingredient combinations and recipes develop over time. His approximation draws upon network analysis, digital humanities, and economic history. His research relies on a new dataset consisting of more than 5000 recipes spanning 40 years. He has received several awards supporting his research, NYU Global Research Initiative NYU London (2018), Tinker Field Research Grant. NYU CLACS (2017), Doctorados en el Exterior. Colciencias, Colombia (2014), Programa Crédito Beca. Colfuturo, Colombia (2014).

Kelila Jaffe 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. She has conducted fieldwork in Fiji, New Zealand, and Hawaii, and has worked with numerous museum collections. Her dissertation examines human-animal interactions in dietary transitions through the archaeological record. Originally from Sonoma, CA, Kelila is also a professional chef. Kelila has won several grants and awards to support her research including the Dean's Grant for Graduate Student Research and the International Council for Archaeozoology Travel Award.

Katherine Magruder researches the history of food radio in the United States and France, focusing in particular on farmers' and rural radio networks; the advent of fictional characters to deliver governmental and/or corporate propaganda related to food; and sovereignty, air rights ownership, and listening across borders.  She has taught undergraduate courses on critical food studies and modern European history at NYU, Barnard, and Sterling College.  Katherine is the assistant managing editor of Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and membership manager for the Association for the Study of Food and Society. She is also a candidate for the Certificate of Achievement in French Studies.

Steven McCutcheon Rubio his work focuses on the comparative political economy of agri-food systems in Latin America. His areas of interest include the financialization of food, the political significance of new food movements, and informal food economies. Steven has an MA in Food Systems from NYU and received his AB in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. Prior to beginning doctoral work, Steven was an editor and policy associate at Americas Society/Council of America, where he helped oversee the Immigration and Integration Initiative and was a member of the editorial team for Americas Quarterly. Previously he worked as a lecturer in food politics in Singapore and as a food writer in Mexico City.

Cheng Qiu is a Chinese scholar, activist, educator, and practitioner on sustainable agriculture and food systems. In 2012-2016, Cheng conducted global food policies research at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C., while part-time participating in the US sustainable food movements, including forest gardening, urban gardening and composting, community-supported agriculture, and farm-to-table. In January-August 2017, Cheng returned to China and helped develop the China Agroecology Platform as Food and Agriculture Senior Campaigner in Greenpeace Beijing, while giving over 30 talks and trainings on agroecology and sustainable food systems in different regions in China. Her talks and articles have been widely circulated in China, empowering tens of thousands to participate in the transition towards sustainable food systems. She is also the founder of a Chinese media-based social enterprise that educates on sustainable food systems and permaculture lifestyles. Cheng holds a BA in Economics from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, and Master of Public Affairs from Cornell University. She has an interdisciplinary background in economics, public policy, agroecology, soil ecology, gut microbiome and immune health. Cheng loves nature and yoga, and is interested in holistic health, oriental philosophies and indigenous cultures. Her goal is to understand and design socio-natural ecosystems that restore the earth and people. 

Jennifer Shutek completed her BA at Simon Fraser University, where she majored in Middle Eastern and Islamic history, minored in English literature, and studied French sociolinguistics. During her M.Phil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, Jennifer studied Modern Standard Arabic, conducted fieldwork in Palestine/Israel, and wrote her thesis on gastronationalism and gastrodiplomacy in Palestinian and Israeli cookbooks. She has served as an editor and weekly contributor at Muftah magazine, taught and given guest lectures in undergraduate classes, and worked as an ESL instructor. As a doctoral student, Jennifer is pursuing research on gastrodiplomacy in Palestine/Israel, cultures of generosity and hospitality among West Bank and ’48 Palestinians, and the intersections between foodways and nostalgia among Palestinians living in North America. 

Daniel Bowman Simon holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from New York University, a Master of Business Administration from University of the Pacific, and a Master of Urban Planning from New York University. In 2011, Daniel founded SNAP Gardens to raise awareness that SNAP benefits could be used to buy seeds and plants. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Daniel founded TheWhoFarm, a traveling, bus-based initiative that visited schools and farmers markets across America to collect petition signatures respectfully requesting that the new White House residents start a vegetable garden.  The campaign was ultimately successful when First Lady Michelle Obama planted the White House Kitchen Garden.  Prior to TheWhoFarm, Daniel spearheaded marketing and policy efforts at The Gaia Institute.  He was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, focused on Business Advising for Youth Development, and taught English in Japan’s JET Programme. He has consulted for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and for the Generation Food film project.  Daniel’s current research interest is the history of the United States government’s role in feeding hungry people, in the context of overall agricultural policy.  He has co-instructed courses on Food Policy and Food Advocacy with his adviser Dr. Marion Nestle.