Fall 2021 graduate Natalie Wood, along with her faculty mentor Dr. Corrie Neighbors and WNMU colleagues Drs. Sam Schramski and Francisca Reyes, co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition in October.
Funded in large part by the Western New Mexico University Student Research and Professional Development program, “Sociospatial Analysis of Food Pantry Access and Location in a Southwestern Frontier Community” explores the relationship between food insecurity and geographic position in Silver City. Using a survey of more than 100 respondents and desktop GIS analysis, they investigated whether distance, neighborhood and socioeconomic status have a bearing on access and use of food pantries.
“A surprising result was that people who get government assistance do not frequent food pantries as often as people who don’t. You’d figure it’d be the opposite,” she said.
Wood endured the “super time consuming” data configuration and discovered the patience required for research and writing. After a year under review, the paper was released. “It feels surreal to have published work while I was still in my undergrad. It’s an accomplishment not a lot of my peers have,” said Wood, who will begin a master’s in marine biology in 2023.