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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Solving the World's Challenges Panel Presentation: 2022 Panel

Virtual Exhibit for the Solving the World's Challenges Funk ACES Library panel presentation

2022: Food Insecurity

Three experts from across campus will each discuss their work related to food insecurity and respond to questions from attendees during the #FunkPanel2022. Their work includes development of the Find Food IL community food map, research on how social inequalities shape the food labor and consumption of vulnerable individuals and families, and efforts to address food insecurity on university campuses and internationally. Dr. Roberta Johnson Killeen will serve as guest moderator. This panel presentation will be an opportunity for people to come together with the Funk ACES Library to learn about and discuss food insecurity initiatives and research led by members of our campus community. Register to join us on Wednesday, April 13 at 3:00 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Registration has ended. See you next year!

Recording Link


Panel Poster

Text on poster reads

Meet Our Panelists

Mrs. Caitlin Kownacki is an Extension Specialist of Evaluation for the Family and Consumer Sciences division at University of Illinois Extension. In her position she provides leadership in evaluation planning, implementation, and reporting for Extension programs in family relationships, personal finance, and nutrition including the Illinois SNAP-Ed and EFNEP programs. Formerly, she served as a member of the Illinois SNAP-Ed PSE field implementation team and has experience improving nutrition and food systems in community and healthcare settings. Mrs. Kownacki earned a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and is a Registered Dietitian having earned her degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from Northern Illinois University.

Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an Assistant Professor in Entomology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois.  She is a senior food security fellow with the New Voices Fellowship at the Aspen Institute.  As an entomologist, her research has focused on understanding the multifaceted uses of chemical signals by herbivores, natural enemies, plants and their associated microorganisms. In addition, Dr. Ngumbi’s research studying beneficial soil microbes seeks to find microbial-based solutions for improving crop production, alleviating flooding and drought stress in crop plants and sustainable pest management.  Believing that global sustainability issues like hunger and food insecurity affect all of us, Dr. Ngumbi works as a food security advocate and researcher and has continued to demonstrate visionary and inspirational leadership in the pursuit of a sustainable future where hunger and food insecurity are eradicated.

Dr. Merin Oleschuk is a Sociologist and Assistant Professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies here at the University of Illinois. She received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Toronto and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Gender Equity and Excellence through Leadership at the University of Guelph. Dr. Oleschuk studies how people make decisions about how and what to eat given the complex physical, social, and environmental implications of those decisions. Her research advances knowledge about how intersecting social inequalities shape the food labor and consumption of vulnerable individuals and families, alongside their implications for health and wellbeing.

Meet Our Guest Moderator

Dr. Roberta Johnson Killeen holds B.S., M.S, and Ph.D. degrees in Geophysics and Space Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She has over 60 peer-reviewed publications, and worked as a Research Physicist at SRI International, a Research Scientist at the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Laboratory and in the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Director of the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, the Director of Education and Outreach at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, and as a Clinical Professor at the State University of New York at Albany in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.  In 2016, she was recognized with the American Geophysical Union’s Athelstan Spilhaus Award for her work to bring the excitement and beauty of the geosciences to the public.  Dr. Johnson Killeen loves to garden, and she tends a large vegetable garden on the grounds of the President's House, which she and her husband, Tim Killeen (with whom she shares three children), installed in 2018.


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