Community Research Fellowship: The Journey Begins

Hello all! My name is Logan Kauffman, and I am a rising junior from Baltimore, Maryland. I try my best to live with humility and compassion, and take pride in helping others achieve in all aspects of life. I love sports of any kind, and my friends would describe me as competitive, even in non-competitive activities. This is likely because of my sister, who although is many years younger than me, is always trying to beat me in any way possible. My family means the world to me, and it would be a crime to introduce myself without mentioning those who shaped me and built my core values.

Here at Pitt, I am enrolled in the double degree program, pursuing degrees in finance and political science, with a minor in economics. I wanted an educational experience that was as rigorous as possible, as I am the type of person who would rather drown in work than wade in boredom. Coming into college, I was interested in law school post-graduation, and figured like most, my interests would sway as I progressed, so I wanted to be as well rounded a student as possible.

I am more than excited to begin work with one of Pitt’s many passionate scholars, Professor Barry Mitnick, my mentor. I am also thrilled to collaborate with Food21, a non-profit focused on combatting regional food insecurity. My project will be the culmination of situationally applying previously researched stakeholder theory to Food21’s operational environment and stakeholder network, to map their interests as a non-profit in a complex social environment. Through a case study, I plan to illustrate and illuminate the sovereign, and connected stakeholders, to contribute to Food21’s approach in combatting regional food insecurity. I hope to make a difference in addressing food insecurity in my community, a critical issue that harms mental and physical health worldwide. With 35 million Americans experiencing food insecurity regularly, I am impassioned to make a difference in combatting a crisis affecting my neighbors and community members.

I plan to pursue law school and participating in the Community Research Fellowship will help to strengthen my scholarship, commitment to learning, and dedication to my community. The opportunity to conduct research under a widely cited expert such as Professor Mitnick is invaluable, especially considering his course in markets and manipulations inspired my own passion for research. I am eager to absorb insights about life and academia in my work with Professor Mitnick, and hope to incorporate his teachings as notions to learn and live by.

My research involves the application of previously investigated topics into a situationally unique setting. Also, my application of these topics will be centered around a non-profit, an organization with unique values, interests, and strategies. There have been countless case studies, but what will make mine unique is my plan to fully encapsulate Food21’s operational environment and illustrate their stakeholder network and prioritization matrix in doing so. The issue of food insecurity has negatively impacted my community along with countless others, and having the opportunity to help in combatting the issue through research is more than worthwhile, and assigns a wider and greater purpose to scholarship.

I am humbly grateful to have been given the opportunity to conduct research and contribute to my university and community, and look forward to the adventure ahead!

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