Deja Thomas

Deja Thomas


Deja is pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and obtaining a Food Studies Certificate at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She wants to design and implement plans and programming that create a good food economy made up of urban farms, restaurants, corner stores, and more by specifically centering women of color. This goal is based on the belief that food systems can be the nexus for a paradigm shift in how we value people, land, and women of color. During the academic year she works at both the Luskin Center for Innovation working on the process evaluation for the Transformative Climate Communities pilot projects. The Transformative Climate Communities project is one of the most innovative, comprehensive, and equitable experiments in climate action with the Strategic Growth Council investing approximately $140 million (+ leveraged funding from philanthropy, etc.) in 3 place-based, intersectional, community-led climate initiatives that will provide a wide array of local economic, environmental, and public health benefits in historically underserved communities. She is using the opportunity to also study the contributions the food-related bring to the overall goal of the program. She also works at UCLA’s Labor Center gaining skills and building on previous experience in community engaged and action-oriented research to further equitable sustainable futures. Prior to starting her Master’s program she obtained her Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and Communication at Santa Clara University. While, attending Santa Clara she was a Global Social Benefit Fellow at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Community Development Coordinator at the Multicultural Center, was a research assistant for several environmental justice projects, and was involved in student movements to better campus.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
Current Position:
Masters Candidate
Architecture & Urban Planning
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Policy

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