Category Archives: Past Lab Members

Gabriella Hall

Gabriella Hall is an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo. She is currently pursuing degrees in Communication and Sociology with a certificate in Journalism. Gabriella joined the UB Food Lab while finishing up her senior year in high school in the spring of 2018 and has been a researcher since. Gabriella’s work aims to empower marginalized communities of color through research focused on addressing the cyclical nature of food injustice in local and national communities. Gabriella has conducted research on injustices experienced by African American farmers in the U.S. South as part of a series of written pieces and documented the capacity of community food organizations in Western New York. With her team, Gabriella also won the Innovation Award during the 2018 Global Innovation Challenge, a multi-disciplinary student competition designed to address food equity challenges in the Global South.

Most recently, Gabriella has co-authored a book chapter titled “Ethical Lessons from Yesteryear” (in review) about the historical underpinnings of community-led justice efforts in Black Buffalo to be in memory of the late food systems scholar and advocate, Jerry Kaufman. In addition, Gabriella was recently awarded the 2019 Carl R. Allen Memorial Scholarship through the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists for her commitment to journalism and Buffalo’s black community.  In the lab, Gabriella is the lead for project Levers for Change in which youth-centered community food organizations are evaluated and documented to learn of the ways local food leaders are empowering and educating Buffalo’s youth.

Avery Sirwatka

Avery is an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo.  He is currently pursuing degrees in Urban & Public Policy and Sociology with minors in Public Health and Environmental Design.  Prior to joining the Food Lab, Avery attended Jamestown Community College (JCC), where he received degrees in Communication and Social Sciences.  While at JCC, Avery worked with fourth-grade students in a science education program and served as an academic tutor for the college community. Avery also participated in the SUNY Model European Union and was awarded the Palestinian Studies Award for his Scholars Day presentation, ‘Palestine: 70 Years of Nakba.’ Avery continues to work with Jamestown Community College as an Alumni Mentor.

At the Food Lab, Avery currently works across local and global projects, focusing specifically on work in the Buffalo-Niagara region as a coordinator of an assessment project through the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and General Mills Foundation and in Kerala, India under Plan-REFUGE.  Avery traveled to Kerala this past summer to conduct fieldwork on smallholder farmer resiliency in the face of climate change, and will be presenting his findings at the national Association for Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Conference this October. He also runs the Food Lab’s policy databases and websites, allowing him to pursue his research interests in participatory planning and in integrating food system plans into existing municipal-level policies, particularly in the context of the Global South.  Avery is also interested in rural economic development, planning in post-conflict areas, and the creation of new pedagogies in food systems planning curricula.

Outside of the Food Lab, Avery recently obtained grant funding to study the experiences of refugee students in higher education, and in particular how students utilize personal agency to adapt to new institutional environments.  Avery also recently received a fellowship from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress, where he plans to conduct research on the potential of public financing to strengthen community food systems. After graduation, Avery hopes to obtain his MUP/JD from the University at Buffalo, and later pursue a PhD to teach food systems planning at a university-level.  He can be contacted at

Camile Brown

Camile Brown recently received her Master of Science in Real Estate Development, with a focus on affordable housing. She has been with the Food Lab since June 2017, and currently serves as Lab Manager. Working directly with the Principal Investigator, Camile shepherds local and global projects from ideation to completion.

Camile enjoys painting and poetry in her spare time, and teaches others to draw as well. She encourages everyone to explore their artistic side. She says regardless of skill level, art allows one to have a “sense of release of one’s inner thoughts and feelings; it’s a way to tell a story in a provocative way; it’s a way to connect people; and, it’s plain fun!” Drawing on her creative talents, Camile intends to focus on the role of art in creating healing and affordable housing developments.




Archana Mohan

Archana Mohan is an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo. She is currently pursuing degrees in Business Administration (Finance) and Mathematics.  Prior to joining the Food Lab in the fall of 2018, Archana attended Placid Vidya Vihar in her home of Kerala, India. She also served as a Research Aide on the Ground-Level Agriculture Survey System (GLASS) through the Department of Mathematics and Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity. Through her work at the Food Lab, Archana has been involved in global projects related to smallholder farmers’ well-being. She is looking forward to learning more about the connection between food systems and different economic classes, and how this intersection affects the global economy. Outside of the Food Lab, Archana is interested in learning new languages, and is currently pursuing Modern Greek.

Sydney Jones


Sydney is an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo.  She is currently pursuing a degree in Public Health with a minor in Spanish.  Sydney began working in the Food Lab in February 2019.  During her time at the lab, Sydney aims to orient her goals toward growth and expansion.  In particular, she hopes to gain knowledge from her interdisciplinary cohort of colleagues in order to broaden her academic perspective, and plans to take the time as an opportunity to further develop professional skills.  Outside of the Food Lab, Sydney enjoys traveling, cooking vegan cuisine, and writing self-help proverbs and spoken word poetry.


Rupali Kotina

Rupali Kotina is a undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Prior to enrolling at UB, Rupali attended the Manipal Institute of Technology in Manipal, India. Rupali began working in the Food Lab in April of 2018. Originally from Orissa, India, Rupali works closely with global project team in translation and data analysis. As a member of the Food Lab, she hopes to translate her skills in programming to create opportunities for technologically-inexperienced farmers, and research how technology can help farmers achieve food and financial security. Outside of work, Rupali enjoys reading books and traveling.

David Goldberg

David is an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo. They are currently pursuing majors in Environmental Studies & Political Science and a minor in Spanish. Prior to working at the Food Lab, David interned as a Diversity Advocate at the University at Buffalo’s Intercultural and Diversity Center, where they developed and led programming on diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice. They are currently a lead organizer of UB Fossil Free, an environmental justice and public accountability initiative leading a campaign to divest the UB Foundation from the fossil fuel industry and expand shared governance with the Foundation. David began working at the Food Lab as a researcher in the summer of 2018. Since then, they have researched the conditions of smallholder farmers in the Global South, and pursued their research interests in participatory governance and ecological sustainability in the global food system.

Daniela Leon

Daniela Leon is currently a first-year Master of Urban Planning student at the University at Buffalo, and a graduate of UB’s Environmental Design program. She is interested in the role of economic development as a lever for positive change in urban communities. Her experiences as research assistant at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab have fostered her passion for equity and social justice among people of color and other marginalized communities in cities. Her research has focused on identifying opportunities for the integration of informal markets to the urban milieu, specifically street vending. While Buffalo has been home for many years now, she hopes to someday return to the New York City area and contribute to the innovative strategies that advance local economies and small businesses.

Nirupama Stalin


Nirupama is a first-year Master of Urban Planning student within the University at Buffalo’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  Prior to enrolling in the program, Nirupama received her Bachelor’s Degree in Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture in Vijayawada, India.  While attending school in Vijayawanda, Nirupama wrote her thesis on the environmental implications of non-communicable diseases due to urban air pollution. Nirupama also worked across a variety of planning projects, including a Regional Development Plan for Wayanad, India, and interned with Jones Lang Lasalle to develop a plan for a new bus terminal in Tamil Nadu, India.  Nirupama also volunteered with organizations in Tamil Nadu to plan for reverse osmosis water systems within the region.  Nirupama began working at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab in February 2019.  In the lab, Nirupama works across global projects, and seeks to learn about the intersection of planning and policy creation.  She is also interested in integrating food systems into plans and policies around the world.  Outside of the lab, Nirupama enjoys playing badminton, cooking, and learning new languages, such as Korean.



Sylvia Kelly

Sylvia Kelly is a Master of Urban Planning and Public Health student at University at Buffalo, and a WNY Prosperity Fellow. She engages in action-oriented research to address issues of food justice in the face of globalization, urbanization, and climate change. Sylvia works as a research and evaluation intern on the ‘Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health’ project through Cicatelli Associates Inc. (CAI), allowing her to draw on both public health and urban planning experience to continue improving food access for marginalized groups within Buffalo. Sylvia also serves as the Educational Outreach Committee Co-Chair for Science Demands Action, a local non-profit that seeks to partner with communities in using science for social good.