Past Award Recipients

CRFS Student Awards


Every spring semester, the UA Center for Regional Food Studies (CRFS) offers up to 3 awards of $500 to any UA graduate or undergraduate student in support of food-related research or educational activities over the summer months. Funds can be used to cover tuition costs or other expenses related to the successful completion of planned academic work related to food.


If awarded funding, recipients are expected to:

  • File a 1-page summary describing how the funds helped to support your academic goals and/or research. 
  • Share a 15–20-minute oral presentation at a CRFS grad panel event in the semester following the award period.

Past awardees:

Summer 2021 Recipients

 CRFS student award recipients (Summer 2021): Julia Davies and Ziya Kaya

Every spring semester, CRFS offers up to three student research awards in support of food-related research or educational activities over the summer months. This year, CRFS supported the Ph.D. research of Julia Davies (School of Geography, Developoment, and Environment) and Ziya Kaya (School of Anthropology). Congratulations, Julia and Ziya!



Julia Davies is a third year PhD student in the University of Arizona’s School of Geography, Development and Environment. She received her BSc (Honors) in Environmental and Geographical Science and MSc in Climate Change and Development from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Julia’s PhD dissertation focuses on urban food system transformations and governance in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). She is particularly concerned with the high levels of food insecurity being experienced in low-income urban communities in the SSA region. She is interested in understanding the multiple, interlinked drivers of urban food insecurity, including climate change and related food price shocks, high rates of urban poverty, and ineffective food system governance. Core areas of her research include understanding the barriers to urban agriculture and the governance of traditional open-air food markets in SSA. Julia’s work forms part of a broader, NSF-funded project focused on the linkages between coupled human-natural systems and across rural-urban continuums in Zambia and Kenya.

The CRFS grant contributed to her research on the governance of traditional open-air food markets in SSA. Data for this research were collected through a phone call survey, administered to the market committees of 81 markets in Zambia. She is using the data from this survey to analyze the types of governance arrangements that tend to lead to sustained and effective markets. This research is important because while some markets are well governed and function effectively, others face multiple challenges such as poor sanitation, a lack of food safety protocols, infrastructure deficits, and ineffective management. When markets are not well governed then they are not resilient to shocks, nor are they sustainable in the long-term, thereby ultimately impacting the livelihoods of food producers, vendors, and the households who depend on markets for food purchases.


Ziya Kaya is a PhD student in sociocultural anthropology with a minor in geography interested in simultaneous, mutually-reinforcing transformations at the intersection of rural livelihoods and environmental and technological change. His earlier research was on labor processes in and outside a small-scale vegetable-producing greenhouse in western Turkey. For his doctoral dissertation, he will conduct ethnographic research on digital farming technologies as part of food security policies in Turkey and their impacts on farmers’ interactions with agroecology (crops, soils, climate) and farmers’ livelihoods, starting in Spring 2022.

He would like to express his gratitude to the CRFS award committee for supporting his virtual pre-dissertation research on the digital transformation of agriculture in Turkey in Summer 2021. During this remote research, he virtually interviewed digital farming technology companies’ coordinators and farmers and public officials; participated in their virtual meetings and webinars; and conducted archival research on their websites that includes annual reports and scholarly and popular publications on digital farming.











Summer 2020 Recipients

Blu Au

The Center for Regional Food Studies (CRFS) student award supported Blu Au's academic place-based research, specifically exploring how Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community health outcomes are influenced by their relationships to cultural land practices- which can include- traditional foodways, traditional medicinal practices, cultural practices and spiritual practices.

During Summer 2020, Blu worked with the Dunbar Pavillion Community Garden on an earth-based educational project that focuses on reconnecting BIPOC communities to plant-based health and wellness practices, while recentering, revaluing and elevating the historical and cultural knowledge of BIPOC communities. The goal of this project is to empower BIPOC communities to reclaim agency over their own health and wellness in order to make more informed decisions about how they treat and advocate for treatment of themselves.


Mariana Manriquez

Mariana Manriquez, a doctoral student in Sociology conducted a historical analysis devoted to locating patterns of regulation and management of public markets in Mexico City; from the times of the Colony all up to the contemporary period. Throughout the months of June, July and August, Mariana complied historical monographs and newspaper articles as well as completed content analysis.  This analysis revealed the transitory notions of modernity crafted by the Mexican state. These notions guided different practical approaches to the spatial and economic management of public markets. the analysis revealed the historical perseverance of regional economic circuits, despite changing patterns in consumption and the entrance of supermarket conglomerates—positioning public markets as primordial centres for food distribution.  The research was completed thanks to the funding received from the CRFS Student Award.  Moving forward, Mariana will continue to make linkages between past governance strategies and unfolding approaches that emerge to further mitigate the economic and public health devastations that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to public markets, its vendors and consumers.


Sehdia Mansaray

The Center for Regional Food Studies Award has supported my goals to strengthen my applied research skills and broaden my professional network within the realm of food security. Through the scholarship, I was provided a more confident foothold to start off what had begun as a stressful summer, professionally and financially. With my connection to CRFS, I have a more solid platform on which to build upon my past experiences in agriculture and agroforestry whilst also promoting myself as a professional within the realm of food studies and security. The scholarship assisted me on a research project with Associate Research Scientist and Professor, Dr. Stephanie Buechler, focused on understanding the role community gardens have played in the food security of under or unemployed gardeners under COVID-19 conditions.