Kennesaw State graduate cultivates awareness of hunger, food insecurity

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 12, 2021

Artis Trice
Artis Trice

Artis Trice became dedicated to the issues of community hunger and food insecurity while he was a student at Kennesaw State University, and he will continue that commitment well beyond the graduation day he’s celebrating this week.

Trice is one of only 18 recipients nationwide of a 2021-22 Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, a yearlong program through the Congressional Hunger Institute. Beginning this summer, he will work for six months with a community organization dealing with food security at the local level and then spend six months in Washington, D.C., with a policy organization or federal agency to conduct research and support anti-hunger policy on the national level.

“It feels incredible to know that I’m going to continue doing impactful and meaningful work toward ensuring that food is available and accessible to people in any community,” said Trice, an Honors student who earned his geography degree this week. “I am looking forward to going to other communities and learning their mitigation strategies and hopefully being able to bring those back with me to the Atlanta area.”

Trice credits Kennesaw State for sparking his interest through classes in the Department of Geography and Anthropology and different volunteer opportunities. For example, students were required to log service-learning hours for geography professor Vanessa Slinger-Friedman’s local and global sustainability class, and Trice began doing volunteer work at a community garden in Marietta that he continues to this day.

Also, for his research methods class with geography professor Paul McDaniel, Trice conducted a research project about the impact that community gardens can have on poverty and food insecurity. He presented his research at KSU’s Symposium of Student Scholars and later shared it with senators and representatives in the Georgia Legislature.

“Artis will make a difference in this world. Indeed, he already has,” said Michelle Miles, Kennesaw State’s director of national and international scholarships and fellowships. “He wants to contribute in a fashion that not only alleviates suffering and injustice, but simultaneously fosters health, growth and potential in others. Artis is unforgettable.”

The Emerson Fellowship is the latest national recognition for Trice, who previously was awarded a $10,000 Live Más Scholarship from the Taco Bell Foundation toward his goal for everyone in the Atlanta area to have adequate access to nourishing food. As a sophomore, Trice was named a Newman Civic Fellow and studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, participating in a public health education program.

Trice also took part in a virtual study abroad this semester through KSU Journey Honors College, learning about Costa Rica’s history, tourism and conservation efforts. Meanwhile, he was involved in several campus organizations, as president of both the Geography Club and the Caribbean Student Association (CaribSA), vice president of the Spanish Club, and a member of KSU’s chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon international geographical honor society.

“I don’t think that these experiences and these connections and this supportive community that I’ve been able to be a part of at Kennesaw State would’ve existed at any other university,” Trice said. “Being at KSU has been unique and transformational for me because I’ve learned so much about myself and about the field that I want to go into. Everything has worked together to give me the tools that I need to be successful.”

Trice has been active in other volunteer efforts in addition to his work on hunger and food insecurity, such as serving as an interpreter to translate from Spanish to English at a local elementary school’s parent-teacher conference night. As positive cases surged in the U.S. during the pandemic, Trice was part of a group of KSU geography and geospatial sciences students, faculty and alumni who volunteered to collect and update data for an online map of COVID-19 testing locations nationwide.

His passion, though, remains working to address the need for people to have access to food, particularly in and around Atlanta. Trice said that he has a personal motivation to “bring a lot of light and support to these issues” because he has seen food insecurity firsthand while living in the Atlanta suburb of Ellenwood.

“There is no reason that people should be hungry in this country, or any country,” Trice said. “I am hopeful that, having this academic background and being able to work within communities and volunteering, I will go forth to really make a change in a lot of people’s lives.”

– Paul Floeckher

Photos by Jason Getz

Video by Demenia Cunningham

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit