CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
School: University of Gastronomic Sciences
Degree: Master of Gastronomy: Food in the World–Cultures and Mobility
Placement: The Office of Representative Kim Schrier
Allyson Rose Pérez was born in Miami, Florida and raised in Texas, Virginia, and North Carolina. She is a proud Cuban American and fourth-generation food worker. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies with a focus field in Global Food Systems & Policy from Harvard College and received her Master’s in Food in the World: Cultures and Mobility from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy (UNISG) thanks to the Fulbright-Casten Family Foundation Award. She is passionate about exploring the intersections of food, identity, migration, and politics. Furthermore, Allyson is interested in how we can create equitable and culturally conscious foodways for marginalized communities.
Allyson’s passion for food was born from watching her father and grandmother cook delicious meals. She was inspired to study food academically after taking a course in her first semester at Harvard tying cooking to broader societal issues. As an undergraduate, she conducted independent research on the U.S.-Cuba agricultural trade relationship, conducting qualitative and quantitative research in both Washington, D.C. and Cuba. She was also active in advocacy for food workers’ rights through the Student Labor Action Movement and planned a variety of events to generate awareness around food systems through the Food Literacy Project. As a master’s student at UNISG, she conducted research on food and identity among Middle Eastern and Mexican immigrant food workers in northern Italy and Denmark. She also worked in the Latin America & Caribbean office of Slow Food International.
As a CHCI Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow, Allyson hopes to expand her understanding of the legislative process, and how national policies and programs can impact low income and marginalized communities’ access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food. After the fellowship, she hopes to continue working to empower immigrant food workers and contribute to discourse on Latinx immigrant foodways in the United States.