NYU Steinhardt News

Steinhardt Alumna Promotes Change in Urban School District Through Nutrition and Food Education

Meet Anneliese Tanner, an MA in Food Studies alum who came to NYU Steinhardt to pursue her passion and do a career 180—from managing investment portfolios to running a food service department in a school district in Austin, Texas. Read on to learn more about Anneliese’s path to her new career and how Steinhardt helped her achieve her dreams.

Tell us a little about yourself, and what initially brought you to the Nutrition & Food Studies department:

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and studied German at Austin College as an undergrad before starting a career in Finance in San Antonio managing investment portfolios.  I wanted to bring change to our national food system, particularly in terms of environmental impact.  I believe in order to create change of any kind, you need education and volume, both of which we have in the school system.  I also believe that we can bring equity to our cities through our food systems, and urban school districts play a huge part in feeding large portions of the population.  So, I moved to New York with the intention of studying food systems at NYU so that I could become a Food Service Director of an urban school district.  I graduated from Steinhardt in 2012 and began my career in school food the following year, back home in Texas. 

Do you have a favorite memory or class from your time at NYU?

I really enjoyed Food Culture with Jennifer Berg and my class about global food systems with Krishnendu Ray.  Both helped me view the food system from a different lens, and that focus on culture and global impact come through in my current work. 

What is your current position? Please share a little bit about the work you do:

I'm the Executive Director of Nutrition, Food Services and Warehouse Operations for the Austin Independent School District.  In Austin ISD our food service staff of 650 serve around 75,000 meals per day to 82,000 students.  Our focus on breakfast in the classroom, after school meals, scratch cooking, global flavors, salad bars, food trucks, clean labels and good food procurement brings much needed nutrition and high quality, mindfully sourced and produced meals to our students to support their academic and extra-curricular achievements. 

How do you think your time at NYU Steinhardt helped shape your career path?  

NYU Steinhardt introduced me to the idea of and need for equitable food access, and provided the background I needed to understand the food system to try to make that change possible.  Without my degree and education from NYU I don't think I could have made such a swift and smooth transition from finance to food.  NYU helped set me up for success in my career and the ability to make positive change in my city for all.