Student Staff

BFI supports student fellows across disciplines to research pressing policy issues and undertake community engagement projects. BFI also convenes the UC Global Food Initiative Student Fellows. Open calls for student fellowships.
Photo of Jesús Nazario.

Jesús Nazario, Graduate Student Fellow

PhD Student, Ethnic Studies. Jesús is an incoming PhD student in Ethnic Studies, where he will focus on the intersection of food and Indigenous sovereignty, as well as incorporating memory and archive methods. He is passionate about photography, laughing, research dissemination, and forming foundations of a more food-equitable society. As a recent Master’s of Arts graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where he focused on maize adoptions by Nahua farmers, he is interested in connecting with Indigenous activists, food scholars, and communities of color to increase access and understanding to heritage and local foods. Outside of BFI, he is involved in community gardening and housing justice projects.

Justina Robinson, Communications Assistant

Undergraduate Student, Political Science and Anthropology. Justina Robinson is a third year undergraduate student from San Diego, California. Her interest in food systems stems from her communications and policy work with food accessibility within school lunches during Covid-19. She hopes that her communications work will call attention to the impacts of food accessibility and food equity within diverse communities. As the communications assistant, Justina is excited to promote the BFI across all platforms to highlight the amazing work being accomplished to transform food systems. Outside of BFI, she works as a mentor for the public service center or you can find her patiently waiting for her fruits and veggies to harvest.

Sakeenah Shabazz

Sakeenah Shabazz, Policy Assistant

Master’s Student, Goldman School of Public Policy. Sakeenah is a first year Master’s of Public Policy Student. Her interests include food security, food justice, federal nutrition programs, and public benefits administration. As Policy Assistant, she looks forward to working closely with BFI”s Executive Director and policy consultant on a range of topics that will inform BFI’s policy agenda. Originally from San Diego, CA, Sakeenah currently resides in Washington, DC, where she attended Georgetown University and worked for the Congressional Hunger Center and D.C. Hunger Solutions. When she’s not working, you’ll find her biking around DC, running on a trail, on Twitter, or shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Photo of Moe Sumino.

Moe Sumino, Gardens Data and Finances Coordinator

Undergraduate Student, Conservation and Resource Studies (Rural Agricultural Development). Moe Sumino is a second-year undergraduate student from Tokyo, Japan and also grew up in London, Singapore, and Connecticut. Growing up in Southeast Asia and critiquing the development projects around her, she is motivated by the great potential that agriculture holds in advancing social justice, environmental protection/agroecology, and rural development. By also studying Food Systems and Geospatial Information Systems, Moe hopes to strengthen sustainable rural development efforts through improved agricultural resources and policy. Outside of BFI, she works closely with Food First, provides tours of the campus, and gardens at SOGA!

Photo of Kevin Tuok.

Kevin Tuok, UC Global Food Initiative Undergraduate Fellow

Undergraduate Student, Molecular and Cellular Biology. Kevin Tuok is a third-year undergraduate student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His interest in food systems stems from an early love of food and the environment. As a biology and public health major, he is passionate about sustainability and promoting the health of those around him. He’s excited to be working at BFI, and hopes his work to promote sustainable food systems and equitable access to healthy foods will positively impact our community. He plans to pursue a career in research and public health. Outside of BFI, you can find Kevin hiking, cooking, working with Cal’s Model UN organization, or volunteering at the animal shelter.


Photo of Río Vargas.

Río Vargas, Undergraduate Agricultural Labor Research Fellow

Undergraduate Student, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning; Film and Media Studies. Río is a third-year undergraduate student from San Diego, California. Their interest in the culinary arts has been present since they were a child. Upon their arrival at UC Berkeley, Río delved into their passion and learned to connect food to their environment by incorporating landscape architecture into their work. Río is committed to advance food system equity and food accessibility, particularly in low-income communities, communities of color, and the queer community. Outside of their work, Río enjoys rock climbing, cooking, and creating art.