Austin Junior Ana O’Quin has been named as one of the recipients of the 2019 Shared Justice Student-Faculty Research Prize. According to the website of Shared Justice, the prize allows the winners to participate in a semester-long research project including a comprehensive policy report on a social safety net program and its impact in their local community.
Along with providing support for specialized study, the Center for Public Justice flew the recipients and their faculty advisors out to the nation’s capital for orientation where they met members of the organization they will be partnering with, and each other.
The Center for Public Justice is a think tank located in Washington D.C. that advocates for various political matters regarding social justice. They believe that the public good of the American commonwealth can thrive only under government that operates in accordance with standards that eclipse interest-group competition. This ideal is behind the annual provision of this grant that supplies students and faculty the opportunity and resources for research on matters related to social justice.
O’Quin will be focusing her 5,000-word report on food insecurity among teenagers, specifically in the Waco community. Her interest in this particular population stems from her experience in high school ministry and the fact that teens are frequently overlooked in food studies. Ana will study the role of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest federal program that offers nutritional assistance, in addressing teen hunger specifically.
“My paper is all about how teens are really underrepresented; when you talk about food insecurity there’s a lot of research on the effects on children, there’s even research on adults and mothers and parents, but there seems to be a gap in research on teens,” O’Quin said. “So, in this season where there is political conversation going on about SNAP, I just want to introduce the topic of teenagers and make sure we don’t forget them when we make these changes.”
Along with being a full-time student studying social work focused on poverty and social justice, O’Quin is also involved in Young Life, UnBound and works for Baylor.
Dr. Stephanie Boddie, O’Quin’s faculty advisor, recommended the application for the award to O’Quin. She speaks about O’Quin’s propensity for the project and commends her former student on her hardworking character, one of many reasons why she is excited to partner with her on this project.
“Ana O’Quin is an exceptional undergraduate student. Her academic performance is just one factor that distinguishes her from other students. She is mature beyond her years and actively seeks to take what she learns in class to serve her local community,” Broddie said. “I am excited to work with her on a topic that intersects with one of my primary research areas.”
The other recipients of the award are Shannon Que from Abilene University with her advisor, Dr. Stephen Baldridge and Abigail Stevens who attends Eastern University and will be advised by Dr. Christa Lee-Chuvala. Que will also be researching SNAP’s role in the lives of Abilene college students while Stevens will be studying formerly-incarcerated individuals’ access to public housing in greater Philadelphia, PA.