green mosaic wall

Allison HellenbrandPhD Student, Civil Society and Community Research


Allison focuses on the intersections between agriculture, community development, and economics. Specifically, as a PhD student in Civil Society and Community Research, she explores ways to build equity and resilience in the food system. She examines creative ways to foster community-building that simultaneously address environmental concerns. In looking at ways of organizing around reciprocity and solidarity, she hopes to show intersectional and practical possibilities for creating sustainable sociopolitical and environmental change.

Education and Relevant Experience

Allison holds a master’s degree in Romance Languages, specializing in Spanish Higher Education, from Appalachian State University. During her undergraduate studies, also at Appalachian State University, she completed a double major in Global Studies and Spanish, focusing on Peace, Conflict, Human Rights, and Nonprofit Management. Allison served as an ambassador for international students at Appalachian State, promoting intercultural competency, study abroad, and cultural diversity around campus. Additionally, she served as the Civic Engagement Research Assistant with the Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) Office, coordinating the service-learning program on campus and abroad.

Since graduation, she has worked in the nonprofit sector and in urban and rural agriculture, serving two AmeriCorps terms, first as the Immigrant Assistance Center coordinator with FaithAction International House in Greensboro, North Carolina, and then as the Volunteer Capacity Builder and Community Liaison VISTA with The Farmory and NeighborWorks Green Bay (Wisconsin). She has worked on diversified, organic family farms in Austria, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and was a key participant in the development of the Northeastern Wisconsin (NEW) Food Forum, a local food policy initiative. These diverse experiences have enabled her to develop a nuanced, interdisciplinary understanding of the challenges facing our communities and how to effect meaningful change.

Awards and Recognition

Awarded Robin A. Douthitt Graduate Teaching Fellowship | 2020-21

Awarded Ann Hoyt Award for the Study of Cooperative Associations | 2020

Awarded University Fellowship for Graduate Studies, UW–Madison | 2019-20

Awarded Provost Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Appalachian State University | 2015-16

Nominated for Accelerated Master’s Program in Romance Languages: Spanish, Appalachian State University | 2015

Received Outstanding Senior Award for the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and the Department of Global Studies, Appalachian State University | 2015

Teaching Experience

Robin A. Douthitt Graduate Teaching Fellow | 2020-21

Teaching Assistant, CSCS 345, Strategic Planning and Evaluation for Nonprofits and Community Organizations

Teaching Assistant, CSCS 375, Human Ecology of Food and Sustainability

Degree Program

  • Civil Society & Community Research



Social media: