Dylan Delapaz Introduction: Tackling Food Insecurity

Hello everyone! My name is Dylan Delapaz, and I am a rising sophomore pursuing a degree in Finance and Business Information Systems with certificates in Business Analytics and Leadership and Ethics. I am from King of Prussia, PA which is about 30 minutes from Philadelphia. On campus, I serve as the vice president for the League of Emerging Analytics Professionals (LEAP) as well as the director of recruitment for Alpha Kappa Psi (Professional Business Fraternity). A fun fact about me is that I was voted “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day” in high school. 

This summer, I have the honor to work with Food21 and the Pitt Honors Food Ecosystems Scholar Community as a 2021 Community Research Fellow. I will be under the mentorship of Sam Rose, the Director of Operations of Center for Data Analytics and Strategy at Food21. During this project, I will be working with another LEAP executive board member and CRF fellow, Caleb Shook. We will be working together to help fulfill Food21’s mission of combating food insecurity by collaborating with communities, growers, food producers, public policymakers, and academic institutions. Caleb and I will be honing in on data analytics to supplement their goals in providing communities with a comprehensive analysis of food challenges and how to address them. Our research is crucial as millions of individuals lack consistent access to food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 37 million people (1 in 9) experienced food insecurity in 2018, especially in marginalized and underserved communities (Coleman-Jensen). In addition, this issue is a particular need in our local community. Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization, projects a 42% increase in food insecurity rates during 2020 in Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s service area (Map the Gap). With this research, I strive to make a positive and lasting impression in the local community and Food21. 

I am an avid learner who always tries to bring out the best in others through a growth mindset. I seek new opportunities and challenges to venture out of my comfort zone and improve my skill sets. Through my involvement in LEAP, I have developed a keen interest in diving into the ever-growing world of big data. Ultimately I hope to use the skills I have obtained from my classes, leadership positions, and work experiences to become a data analytics consultant for a large firm like McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, or PricewaterhouseCoopers. I am also open to working in the non-profit sphere to work for a company to help make a positive contribution to my local community, such as Feeding America. Through this scholarship, I will learn how public and private companies can collaborate with a non-profit organization to address food insecurity in our community. Additionally, this opportunity will provide insight working in a non-profit professional team setting, contributing to my career outlook.

My prior experience with research includes my high school involvement in DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), which provided me with the skill sets and experience working with a research team. I was tasked with creating 30-page simulated business plans to implement marketing strategies to improve their finances and overall performance. In tenth grade, my team and I studied a struggling local independently owned coffee shop. By conducting surveys, we discovered that patrons were discouraged by the lack of decorations and overall atmosphere of the shop. To combat this, we executed an initiative to have local artists display their work for commission while increasing patron satisfaction and profits through art and coffee sales. Through a presentation based on this business strategy, selected state judges qualified us for nationals. My team and I went on to compete at states all four years and qualified for nationals for two of those years. Similarities between my research in DECA and Food21 include brainstorming and implementing real-world applications to improve performance as well as working collaboratively on a team. What makes this project stand out is the positive impact that I not only gain work experience but continue to strengthen my positive altruistic outlook.

Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, et al. “Household Food Security in the United States in

2018.” United States Department of Agriculture, Sept. 2019.”Map the Gap 2020 Executive Summary.” Feeding America, 2020.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. staciedow says:

    Dylan, I appreciate your approach to this work with Food21 and I look forward to seeing where the data takes both you and Caleb this summer, and to learning more about how the pandemic has affected our region over this past year!

  2. Jackson Filosa says:

    I’m really looking forward to following along with your project Dylan! Keep up the good work.

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