Dr. Jennifer Maguire

Humboldt State University

Dr. Jennifer Maguire

Dr. Jennifer Maguire is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Humboldt State University (HSU).  She has provided innovative ways to address students' basic needs to support student success and her call to action has been both personal and political.

When Dr. Maguire was Ph.D. student, she struggled to make ends meet. Her husband was also earning a graduate degree, they were both working part-time jobs while raising young children, and they had limited financial support from their families. They found themselves applying for SNAP benefits, housing assistance, and childcare subsidies to make ends meet and, at the time, she thought her situation was unique. However, when she became a professor and started talking with students about their struggles in an effort to build authentic connections with students, she realized she was not alone. Accessing SNAP, among other benefits, had been a shameful experience for her. She wanted to build a system that normalized accessing resources that made going to school easier. Food seemed like the obvious place to start.

At HSU in 2013, Dr. Maguire, along with colleagues were awarded a grant that supported CalFresh outreach on campus. The award kicked off a series of funded grants and partnerships with the campus and local community to develop a comprehensive system of support—what is now known as HSU Oh SNAP! Student Food Programs.

Soon after Oh SNAP! launched, her research into the world of student basic needs began. First at HSU, and then as a Co-Principal Investigator for phases two and three of The CSU Study of Student Basic Needs, which demonstrated a relationship between students experiencing food insecurity and homelessness and mental and physical health problems, lower grades, lower attendance, and less participation in recreation. That research is continuing with a close look at HSU and Cal State Long Beach food programs' successes, remaining need, and lessons that can be applied to other universities in the CSU and beyond.  She has been invited to share her findings with state legislators and national conferences, part of a team to that produced a documentary field guide on local food, and was part of the leadership for the planning of a regional summit last spring on homelessness co-hosted by Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods. Under her leadership, programs and services were designed to address food insecurities and nutrition have become models for the entire California State University. Working towards adequate food and housing for all college students to support persistence and degree completion is central to all of her work.

Her passion for action research and policy advocacy translates into her teaching. She teaches a year-long course with graduate social work students where they are charged with developing independent community projects. Many projects with high community impact have emerged from students taking the class. For example, last year, two of her students launched a campaign to address issues of racism and diversity. The project was rooted in community needs assessment with diverse campus and community stakeholders. From the research, posters and videos were made as part of the project introduce students of color to the campus and local communities. The posters are displayed in local businesses and have been featured in the media as a means of reducing racism in the community.

Dr. Maguire's teaching and research has led to actionable policies, projects  and programs that positively influence CSU students. She is a winner of a CSU Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for her commitment to student success.


HSU Oh SNAP! Student Food Programs

Humboldt State Now: An Unprecedented Look at CSU Students Food and Housing Insecurity

HSU Inspires New Law on Student Hunger

Jefferson Public Radio: Homeless, Hungry, and Enrolled In College

KHSU Diverse Public Radio: Building Empathy at the Homelessness and Housing Insecurity Summit

School House Connection: Study of Student Basic Needs

California Health Report: Campus Food Programs Aimed at Student Hunger