Meet Our Scholars
Harvard Divinity School
Vanessa brings together extensive experience in community nutrition as a clinician and a systems-level perspective on improving population health through policy advocacy. As a dietitian, Vanessa has worked primarily in under-resourced communities and has firsthand knowledge of how context impacts people’s lives and well-being. Witnessing stark health disparities and the multitudinous disadvantages her patients faced in seeking optimal health, Vanessa pursued her Master of Public Health degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to affect change in the upstream determinants that structure opportunity for marginalized communities. She recently completed a fellowship through the Hogg Foundation to promote policies that improve youth mental health at Girls Empowerment Network. Inspired by her involvement in the 87th Texas Legislative Session, Vanessa will return to graduate school to pursue a Master of Theological Studies in Religion, Ethics, and Politics at the Harvard Divinity School. Through pursuing her MTS at Harvard, Vanessa hopes to better understand religion’s role in public life and learn key organizing skills to mobilize the religious left to support protections for LGBTQ+ youth and women’s rights.