Stephanie Bianco

California State University, Chico

Stephanie Bianco is the Associate Director at California State University, Chico's Center for Healthy Communities (CHC), Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science and a Registered Dietitian. Her areas of expertise are in program and organization management, nutrition education, food insecurity prevention and food safety training.

One of her greatest accomplishments as Associate Director is the expansion of CHC's CalFresh Program.  She was instrumental in expanding the CalFresh program from five campuses in 2011-16 to 40 campuses (including campuses in the UC and community college system) for the 2018-21 contract. This program assists economically disadvantaged, first generation EOP, foster youth, disabled and housing insecure students with the CalFresh application process. This program directly impacts tens of thousands of college students across the California State University, University of California, California Community Colleges and a private university, becoming a national model. As the contract continues to grow on each campus, it is expected that CalFresh Outreach will directly impact more than two to three times this amount each year.

One of the primary reasons for CalFresh Outreach success statewide is CHC's student internship and the duplication of this model on other campuses. This nationally recognized program provides undergraduate and graduate students with work experience in their majors, units for those hours served, chance to apply for a paid position, and the opportunity to provide leadership and training to prospective interns. In addition, many of these undergraduate students conduct graduate research at and  secured career employment opportunities with CHC.  This internship-employment model is built into the 2018-2021 CalFresh Outreach expansion and includes 157 student interns and 83 employed student staff. Therefore, not only are college students benefiting from the federal CalFresh dollars, but 720 students will be woven into the contract activities on each campus. These students are not only obtaining para professional experiences, but are directly engaged in policy-driven activities, advocacy and empowering underserved communities. Stephanie values these internship experiences more than any information or skills obtained in a classroom because these internship experiences are life-changing and unforgettable.