Ph.D. in English Language & Literature, Graduate
Certificate in Judaic Studies, 2013
Director of Food Studies, Loyola University New Orleans
Describe your job responsibilities:
"As director of food studies at Loyola University New Orleans, I am responsible for coordinating courses and curriculum for a new, interdisciplinary major [food studies]. This includes developing connections between Loyola's food studies program and the wider world of food policy, commerce, and culture, advising students in the program, and teaching and researching in the field."
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
"In this position, I'm privileged to work with passionate, inquisitive students, and brilliant, dedicated faculty members from a wide variety of disciplines. I engage in research and teaching that deepens my students' and my own understanding of the complexity of our world, by considering food, which is so ubiquitous it often passes notice. This job has also put me in touch with fascinating people in diverse fields from urban farmers to restaurant purchasing managers and from furniture designers to plant biologists—not to mention the delicious meals I've enjoyed."
How did your education at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies prepare you for your current job?
"Studying as a graduate student at the Frankel Center gave me a rich exposure to interdisciplinary study that is the foundation of my current work. My interest in food grew from work that I began as a Frankel Center student and later presented with some of my colleagues from the center, considering how the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer interlaces his advocacy for a vegetarian diet with experiences and expectations drawn from the observance (and breaches) of a kosher diet. Discussions about the culture and history of American Jewry shared in classes, colloquia, and conversations with my peers and professors helped me to discover a wider context for my own work, and a wealth of methods and materials to consider."
Who are some of the UM professors who inspired you?
"Professors Deborah Dash-Moore, Jonathan Freedman, Julian Levinson, and Anita Norich inspired me with their critical acumen, and the sense they conveyed of how the work of the classroom extends beyond it. My overwhelming memory of my professors at Frankel was of being drawn by them into bigger conversations—with visiting scholars, between the professors themselves, with other graduate students—but in a context of great intellectual intimacy."
What advice would you give to students who are considering studying Judaic Studies?
"The faculty and learning community at the Frankel Center are exceptional—nurture your relationships with your professors and your peers, read everything you can about the topics closest to your heart, and talk, talk, talk about what you know and what you don't."