Meet Samara Gibson

Samara Gibson is pursuing a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in physical activity and nutrition. As a graduate assistant for the Jamil Niner Student Pantry, she has found a meaningful way to contribute to the well-being of her fellow students. Join Gibson in supporting the pantry as part of the University’s #GivingTuesday initiative.

Why did you choose to work at the Jamil Niner Student Pantry?

I chose to work at the pantry because of my deep passion for addressing food security. As a graduate assistant, I ensure our partnerships are in good standing and maintain strong connections with community organizations to enhance our support network. Leading and mentoring three incredible interns, I strive to create a collaborative and developmental work environment. In addition, I shop for food to supplement our community donations, ensuring our shelves are consistently stocked to meet the diverse and increasing needs of our student population. I am also responsible for submitting weekly food requests to Loaves and Fishes, a crucial aspect of our efforts to maintain a well-rounded and sustainable inventory.

Why should Niner Nation support the pantry during #GivingTuesday?

Niner Nation’s support for the pantry during #GivingTuesday is essential because it plays a vital role in ensuring every student has access to essential items like nutritious food, household goods and hygiene products. In the spirit of Niner Nation, we function as a unified community, making it our collective responsibility to provide resources for our fellow Niners in times of need.

By endorsing the pantry, we extend beyond merely addressing immediate needs; we actively contribute to creating a campus environment that prioritizes the well-being of every member of our community. It goes beyond what we learn in classrooms—supporting the pantry means supporting education on practical life skills, such as food preparation, knowledge of community nutrition resources and effective budget-friendly shopping.

Can you tell us about your graduate research?

My research encompasses food security and food allergies/intolerances. My work aims to understand and address the challenges surrounding access to nutritious food, particularly among low-income populations, international and other populations of interest. Simultaneously, my research on food allergies and intolerances seeks to explore the impact of dietary restrictions on individuals’ overall health and well-being. This dual focus allows me to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of public health issues, from addressing basic nutritional needs to considering the unique dietary requirements of individuals with food sensitivities.

What are three words you would use to describe UNC Charlotte?

Three words I would use to describe UNC Charlotte are inclusive, innovative and motivated.

Where is your favorite place to hang out on campus?

My favorite place to hang out on campus is in Cone, where I can relax for 20 minutes in one of the sleeping pods!

What is a fun fact about you that many people may not know?

A fun fact about me is that I love creating canvas art as a budget-friendly way to decorate my apartment and to give as gifts during the holidays.

Editor’s note: You can help Niners fight food insecurity this holiday season by making a gift to the Jamil Niner Student Pantry.