Ph.D. Track: Food Insecurity, Health and Hospitals Corp.

When she is not fighting injustice in her self-appointed role as a Jr. Community Crime Fighter, Laura Dodds, the Executive Director of TechPoint Foundation for Youth, is leading the organization’s operations, and managing and motivating the best nonprofit team in the business. She also has the honor of serving at the pleasure of the fabulous community leaders that make up the Board of Directors.

After experiencing majors ranging from social work to outdoor recreation, Laura eventually made it out of IU-Bloomington with a BS in Human Development & Family Studies minoring in Sociology. While juggling life as a working mother, Laura also managed to complete her Masters in Public Administration, with a concentration in nonprofit management, at IU-Indianapolis. Today, Laura is thrilled to be finishing her educational journey as a Ph.D. candidate at IU’s School of Liberal Arts in the American Studies Program, with a research focus on urban agriculture and food sovereignty. 

An undergrad internship in California catapulted what would become Laura’s passion (and her career) for bettering the lives of our communities’ most underappreciated citizens. This passion helped her to secure a poignant career with Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis that eventually cemented her in SoBro, where she remains with her husband, teenage twins, cats, dogs, chickens, and goats, along with a thriving vegetable and pollinator garden. 

It is the combination of Laura’s work with underappreciated communities and her passion for urban agriculture that leads her post-graduate research. Currently, Laura is working with Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County to explore the social determinants of health impacted by a broken food system and the role anchor institutions might play in leading sustainable, local change. 

Laura has won some awards and been nominated for others, all of which you can find out more about on LinkedIn. What you won’t find out on LinkedIn is her crowning achievement, being named 8th-grade class clown in her hometown of Chesterton, Indiana.

During her off time, of which she currently has very little of, Laura tries to exercise enough to burn off the extra calories consumed in the form of cupcakes and champagne while listening to podcasts.