Brandon Green’s Unstoppable Academic Goals
UST Doctoral Graduate Overcame Bare Pantry to Learn
Raised in poverty, Brandon Green found his thoughts often squeezed by hunger and focused on finding food. His time in college was no different.
“My friends and I struggled financially in college,” the 34-year old Green recalls. “We stole from grocery stores just to eat.”
Following his time at Prairie View A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Counseling, Green completed his Ed.D. (May 2019) in Ethical Leadership at the University of St. Thomas.
Research Measures Prevalence of Food Insecurity
Perhaps not surprisingly, Green’s doctoral research aimed to measure the prevalence of food insecurity and how growling stomachs can affect the academic success of university students.
Green said, “In fact, 33 percent of students in this country don’t have access to enough affordable, nutritious food. And when students don’t get ample nourishment, many underachieve, receiving a D or an F, or they drop the class.”
Simply filling bellies is not the answer, according to Green.
“Food directly correlates to brain function. Eating noodles, drinking soda — these are cheap, fake nutrition and don’t support the brain’s neurotransmitters for optimum learning.”
Encountering Hungry Students Everyday
Given his career field and his research findings, Green is sure that he encounters starving students every day. He is an adjunct professor of Policy & Advocacy as well as Technology Leadership at UST. In addition, he serves as program manager for the Engineering Department at University of Houston’s main campus.
Goal is for Food Pantries on Every Campus
Green’s passion is to drive systemic changes within the higher educational system, through awareness of issues such as food insecurity.
“With continued research, we’re going to keep raising awareness, and I predict that in five to 10 years there will be food pantries on every campus.”
He offers some keys to the success of those pantries.
“Understand that they’re embarrassed to go and get free food, so connect with the students and develop a personal relationship,” Green recommended. “Be sure to stock lots of fruits, veggies, and pastas. Promote the pantry at recruiting and at orientation.”
One day, Dr. Green envisions being president of a university and leading the way with resources for all students who have a passion for learning.
Brandon Green’s hunger for learning drove him even as he struggled with the reality of being a starving student. The shocking truth is how many other students face the same food insecurity.