Please join us in congratulating the Class of 2021 Honos Civicus Society Honorees from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy!
We commend them for their dedication to public service and community engagement. Launched in 2009 by Tisch College of Civic Life, the Honos Civicus Society is a way for us to celebrate and reflect upon our commitment to active citizenship. Honos Civicus, Latin for “Civic Honors”, celebrates and publicly recognizes graduating students who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to community service and civic engagement during their studies. Building on Tufts’ commitment to active citizenship, a range of faculty and staff collaborated to launch the Honos Civicus Society to recognize students’ academic and co-curricular achievements.
Please congratulate our 2021 honorees!
Lauren Basler, FANPP/MALD
Lauren focused on Management and Strategy in Organizations as well as Business for Social Impact during her time as a student at both the Friedman School and the Fletcher School. While at Tufts, Lauren managed the Massachusetts Branch of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC), a 501(c)(3) organization which prevents food waste and hunger using a network of volunteers. Lauren's work helped RLC donate over 250,000 pounds of food to nonprofit organizations during over 5,000 food rescues around Massachusetts, preventing approximately 94,000 pounds of Co2 being emitted into the atmosphere. Lauren is now working full-time with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine as the Director of Branch Strategy and Development, helping the organization grow their impact around the country by supporting the existing branches and opening RLC branches in new locations nationwide.
Hannah Cai, NDI
Hannah’s involvement in programs focused on immigrant disparities and inclusivity have fueled her studies during her time as a student and dietetic intern at the Friedman School and Tufts Medical Center. As a volunteer for Brookline Food Pantry, which now supports four times the number of families it did prior to COVID-19, she serves 40-80 clients every month in four languages. Hannah was a teaching assistant for Brookline Housing Authority’s adult English class and leveraged the power of images by capturing class events for advocacy. She actively seeks to promote diversity and inclusion within the dietetics profession through Boston Alliance for Diversity in Dietetics’ mentorship and outreach team, and successfully established their biannual sports nutrition seminar for urban youth. After graduation, Hannah plans to go into pediatric nutrition and develop photojournalism experience to tell compelling stories that promote a healthier, more equitable food system.
Alessandra Cancalosi, AFE
Alessandra has focused on virtual communications with Maine Farm to School and Farm to Institution Networks during her time as a student at the Friedman School. This has included involvement in Friedman Covid-19 Connector and the Tisch Student COVID Response Program, organizations which aim to support Covid-19 student projects and collaborations with organizations in need. Alessandra's work helped Maine Farm to School and Farm to Institution Networks to create and communicate Covid-19 resources and provide support for these communities during the pandemic. Alessandra plans to continue working with Red Tomato after graduation in Providence, Rhode Island.
Grace Flaherty, FANPP, MPH
Grace focused on federal nutrition programs and health care policy during her time as an MS/MPH student at the Friedman School and the Tufts Public Health and Professional Degree Program. She was the co-president of the Tufts Friedman Food Policy Action Council (FFPAC), a student organization that advocates for evidence-based and equitable nutrition policies at all levels of government. As co-president of FFPAC, Grace developed policy priorities and advocacy strategy, led communications, drafted public comments and statements, and planned club events. She also regularly volunteered in her community, including at the Somerville Union Square Farmers Market and at Rosie’s Place women’s shelter. Grace contributed to the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a contact tracer in Massachusetts and helping create the Friedman Food Systems COVID-19 Connector which paired food systems organizations with graduate students for COVID-19 related research and technical assistance needs. Grace now works as a health policy consultant at Bailit Health, helping state agencies and their partners improve health care system performance for all.
Katie Lei, NICBC, MPH
Katie has focused on nutrition and physical activity education, mental health promotion, and health inequities during her time as a student at the Friedman School. This has included leadership as an Asian Health Equity Fellow to address institutional health disparities in Asian populations. This also included involvement at the Wang YMCA, which provides services to improve the physical, social, and cognitive health of the Boston Chinatown community. Katie's work helped the YMCA improve their health and wellness offerings to reflect more culturally-aware health and wellness programs for its underserved members. After graduation, Katie plans to use her data-focused background to improve public health in California.
Elise Mitchell, FANPP, MPH
Elise studied food policy (FANPP) and epidemiology as an MS/MPH student at the Friedman School and the School of Medicine. During her time at Tufts, Elise supported a variety of food access programs through both direct service and project coordination. Elise is passionate about engaging with communities to improve social determinants of health; she even dabbled in volunteering with a computer literacy program. Through her involvement with projects like the Friedman Food Systems COVID-19 Connector and the Lynn Food Security Task Force, Elise was able to connect local and national food systems’ organizations with much-needed resources at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since graduating in August 2020, Elise has been working with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition supporting a national evaluation of a nutrition security grant program. Elise continues to find joy in civic engagement through her work and volunteer activities.
Tra Nguyen, NICBC, MPH
Tra has focused on food insecurity and immigrant health during her time as a student at the Friedman School. This has included involvement with Healthy Chelsea to address food insecurity in Chelsea and improve access to resources for the Vietnamese community in Massachusetts. Her work helped organize the first Chelsea Schools Holiday Meal backpack to provide food to low-income students and their families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has joined the Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps as the Boston team lead to assist the local board of health and provide Vietnamese translations for community members to navigate essential resources. After graduation, Tra plans to continue improving social resources for the vulnerable population in different neighborhoods in Boston. Today, while working as a Research Assistant at the Friedman School, she volunteers her time as an evaluator for the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition.