Finding food solutions: Kansas State University graduate student to study food insecurity in Ireland
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016
MANHATTAN — After facing poverty, a Kansas State University graduate student is tackling hunger from an international perspective to research solutions.
Miranda Klugesherz, master's student in communication studies, Colorado Springs, Colorado, will travel from the heartland to Ireland to prepare for a career in policy research and advocacy for solutions to poverty. Klugesherz is a recipient of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship, a national, highly selective scholarship program of the US-Ireland Alliance.
The scholarship selects only 12 future leaders from the U.S. and fully funds a year of graduate study in Ireland. While learning about their host country, Mitchell scholars are encouraged to grow academically and in leadership and public service. The scholarship was named in honor of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell's contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process.
"My family went through some pretty hard times as I was growing up," Klugesherz said. "Out of a passion for the welfare of people whose situations I intimately understand, I immersed myself in nonprofit leadership and eventually realized hunger is a mitigating factor in all the social issues I try to champion."
Klugesherz will study how Ireland's history, including the Irish Potato Famine, has shaped its national discussion on hunger and welfare.
"I can’t think of a better way to learn about hunger alleviation than from a country that has experienced it on a great scale and is now taking an active stance against it," Klugesherz said. "I couldn't pass up an opportunity to learn from a country that has a national narrative so intimately tied to hunger and is now actively working toward abolishing food insecurity on national and international levels."
At Kansas State University, Klugesherz is a graduate research assistant for the Institute of Civic Discourse and Democracy and a graduate teaching assistant for public speaking classes. During her senior undergraduate year, Klugesherz served as director of Food4Thought, a student-led program that provides food to elementary students during weekends and holidays.
"Miranda's joint appointment with the Institute of Civic Discourse and Democracy has been invaluable for providing firsthand experiences in how a university can be involved in public problem-solving," said Tim Steffensmeier, communication studies department head. "These partnerships are part of the department's 2025 plan because they stretch learning beyond the classroom walls and engage people who have a stake in the issue."
In addition to her service through Kansas State University, Klugesherz chairs the Junction City Food Policy Council, is an executive member of Live Well Geary County and is the assistant coach of the speech team at Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska, where she earned her bachelor's degree.
"I admire Miranda's active community leadership," said James Hohenbary, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships. "The Mitchell Scholarship is a very significant affirmation of her efforts and will help further leverage her commitment to addressing issues of food insecurity in the future."
Klugesherz is the daughter of Daron Klugesherz and Patricia Sizemore, both of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Klugesherz credits her parents for consistently emphasizing the importance of giving back.
The communication studies department is in the College of Arts and Sciences.