Master’s degree helps alumna focus on feeding the hungry

By Nikita Lewis
Reporting Student

California, the big state for big dreams. The Golden State appeals to dreamers, especially 2007 alumna Miranda Everitt.

Everitt said moving to California was the best decision she has ever made.

“I bought a plane ticket to California a week after graduation,” she said. “I had a few friends in San Francisco that I met during my internship. I had a couple of hundred from waiting tables, and I had this crazy idea that I can try and make it.”

Everitt didn’t start out in journalism or at BGSU. She attended her first year of college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and majored in history.

“I started off as a history major and made a lot of friends there,” she said. “But, as I was going through the year, I realized what I actually wanted to do and love, which was working on the school newspaper.”

After changing her major to journalism, the Toledo, Ohio, native transferred to BGSU as a commuter student and managed to graduate from BGSU in two years because she received extra college credits in high school.

Throughout college, Everitt described herself as quiet, yet very curious.

Professor Jim Foust had Everitt as a student in one of his courses. “ She was definitely quiet, but you could tell that she had a lot more going on than she let on,” Foust said. “She did not speak much in class at all, but when she did a project, she would do it really well. It was clear she was smart.”

After settling in California, Everitt worked for the Oakland Tribune as a news designer and copy editor for two years.

Due to layoffs and financial problems at the Oakland Tribune, she started to look for a career change.

“I started volunteering and gardening because I love being outdoors and food,” she said. “I worked for AmeriCorps for one year.”

AmeriCorps is an agency whose mission is to improve lives and communities and to promote civic engagement through service.

After working for AmeriCorps as marketing coordinator, Everitt learned a lot about poverty in San Francisco and became more interested in food policy.

“I started doing marketing at a food bank, which I thought was perfect because I have always been interested in food and gardening and that kind of stuff,” she said. “And with a journalism background, it is appealing doing marketing.”

Everitt worked as a marketing communications coordinator at Alameda County Community Food Bank for three years.

While working at the food bank, some of her duties were pitching stories on hunger and poverty to New York Times, KQED and Oakland Tribune, writing op-eds on the Farm Bill and state budget and speaking to large groups about hunger and poverty.

“The more I worked on food policy, the more I thought that the solution to hunger is going to have to be more than a food drive,” she said. “That is when I learned more about food policy and getting another credential.”

Everitt applied to the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of Berkeley.

“I wanted to make a career change but didn’t want to move across the country,” she said. “But it happens that what people think is the best policy school in America is right in the Bay Area, where I live.”

In need of a letter of recommendation, Everitt turned to Foust.

“I based [the letter] on how I saw her growing as a person through Facebook,” Foust said. “She was writing a lot of intelligent posts and doing all these cool things.”

While studying for her master’s degree in public policy she was a consultant for the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy.

In addition to attending graduate school, Everitt was the Global Food Initiative Fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute. She contributed ideas to increase and improve policy programs.

Following her May 2015 graduation, Everitt wants to continue working on poverty, labor, criminal justice and food security in California.

“I know the next few months are going to determine a lot for me after grad school, but ideally, I hope to work on California state policy, poor people, helping incarcerated people and people who struggle with receiving food,” she said. “I especially think my curiosity and interest and health and food policy will lead me in an interesting path.”

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