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Experiential Learning Spotlight: Maki Thomas Livesay

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Maki Thomas Livesay, Vice President of the Food Studies Graduate Society (FSGS), served in the United States Air Force. As a second-year master's candidate in Food Studies, Maki is focused on history, media, and cultural research with a specialization in visual arts administration and museum studies. Maki was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, and in California with her twin sister Miki. 

Department Chair Dr. Krishnendu Ray and Program Director Dr. Jennifer Berg selected Maki as the inaugural fellow for the Mana Contemporary x NYU Food Studies Fellowship. The five-month fellowship was designed to provide research and interdisciplinary opportunities for students while engaging with arts centers in Jersey City, N.J. and the wider New York City community. During the fellowship, Maki produced two public programming events: Food + Culture: South Asia (with a participatory dancing, regional cuisine, tabla drumming, and conversation panel), and NYU at Mana, Food + Culture: Sourcing (which included a spice mixing workshop, hands-on rye and barley planting, and a discussion panel).

Maki is involved with several experiential learning activities that allow her to interact with community members while deepening her engagement with food studies. During summer 2019, she helped to grow Cherokee Purple tomatoes, English cucumbers, Genovese basil, and colorful Calliope carrots at the NYU Urban Farm Lab. In addition, as a volunteer with the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), Maki shared information with guests about Chinese immigration and cuisine, as well as the upcoming African/American: Making the Nation's Table exhibit. 

Maki now volunteers as a guide at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and is developing a supermarket survey project in coordination with the NYC Economic Development Council and the New York City Housing Authority. After graduating from Steinhardt, Maki would like to travel internationally and continue to serve at the intersection of global food/drinks and in arts & culture. 

For students who wonder how to make the most of their time at NYU, Maki advises, “Talk to people. Go places. See things. Just like from the musical Hamilton, act like you're ‘running out of time’ and do as much as possible!”