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Food, Labor, and University Procurement Graduate Student Fellowship for the UCOP

Food, Labor, and University Procurement Graduate Student Fellowship

The University of California’s (UC) Office of the President is seeking a UC graduate student with interest in and experience with sustainable food and labor in supply chains. The graduate student Fellow would provide support for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded grant for UC, Georgetown University, and the University of Michigan to collaborate on developing a code of conduct that can be used by colleges and universities nationwide when purchasing chicken and turkey.


  • Approximately $14,000-$17,000/year (about 10 hours per week for one year, with a potential extension of up to three years) 

  • Additional funds for travel, when COVID-safe

Scope of Work

  • Research into UC’s food (starting with poultry) procurement and additional research, as needed. Topics include volume of spend, size and location of suppliers, demographics of food workers, and health/safety risks, among others. This may involve looking into and collecting spreadsheets, conducting interviews, supply chain mapping, etc.

  • Logistical support, including the coordination of regular virtual meetings with UC stakeholders, note-taking, and scheduling.

  • Assistance in engaging UC stakeholders in potential policy development (around a code of conduct). This includes collecting and incorporating feedback into policy language.

  • Participation and engagement in regular meetings with UC, Georgetown University, and the University of Michigan.

  • Participation in regular UC systemwide meetings related to sustainable procurement, sustainable foodservice, and codes of conduct.

  • Potential coordination of and participation in meetings with external stakeholders in California, such as poultry producers and processors, labor unions, etc.

  • Development of reports as needed for the grant.

  • When COVID-safe, traveling to UC campuses to strengthen relationships with foodservice and to collect ethnographic and quantitative data, as needed.

  • When COVID-safe, potential travel to conferences to present on research and work.

  • Additional tasks, as they arise.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Must be a currently-enrolled UC graduate student

  • Strong writing and oral communication skills

  • Strong research skills

  • Comfort with spreadsheets

  • Ability to work independently as well as in groups

  • Availability to work 10 hours a week for a year

  • Ability to start project in summer 2021

Preferred Qualifications

  • We will prefer candidates with familiarity or experience in three or more of the following areas:

  1. Familiarity with sustainable food

  2. Familiarity with labor in food supply chains

  3. Familiarity with procurement

  4. Familiarity with foodservice, specifically institutional foodservice

  5. Familiarity with the poultry supply chain

  6. Experience with labor unions

  7. Experience with stakeholder outreach, particularly in a virtual environment

  8. Background in financial modeling and budgeting

How to Apply

Please email a resume, cover letter, work sample that demonstrates research and writing skills (e.g. coursework, published work, or similar), unofficial/advising transcript, and letter of recommendation to Sapna Thottathil at by 8:00 AM on Friday, May 28 2021. Please send all files as PDFs with an email subject line of “Graduate Fellowship.”