Headshot image of Emily Ibarra, Hogg Foundation Program Fellow

Emily Ibarra

In November of 2023, the Hogg Foundation hired Emily Ibarra as its first-ever Program Fellow. In this role, she supports learning efforts around community development/public health throughout the foundation and with external stakeholders across Texas. 

You just recently graduated with a Master of Public Affairs (MPAff) degree from the LBJ School. What major milestones and challenges marked your MPAff journey? 

One major milestone during graduate school was giving a presentation to my peers about the public health implications of fatphobia and its relation to scientific racism. I think having the platform to speak on this issue was an honor because it is something that I am particularly passionate about and want to continue to raise awareness for throughout my career. I think the biggest takeaway from my time at the LBJ School was a lesson in resiliency. Going through the MPAff program is no easy feat, and I truly have to thank the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions staff and my peers for being so supportive and for helping me to realize my potential. 

Tell us about your current position with the Hogg Foundation. How are you finding the adjustment, and what have you had the chance to work on? 

Serving as a fellow on the Programs team for the past month has been a wonderful experience so far! I’m learning a lot about the grantmaking process, and I’ve already had the chance to meet with a few of our stakeholders. I’m currently preparing for a few upcoming site visits with grantee partners, and I will soon be managing my own grant project in the new year. 

What unique skills or experience do you bring to your work? 

I think that my strong emotional intelligence and ability to empathize with others helps me navigate difficult conversations, which are expected in this line of work.  

What is your one Big Idea for your field or area of practice? What would need to happen for you to execute that idea?  

I think I would be interested in developing a grant to fund a project/initiative that focuses on body image issues— something that utilizes a Health at Every Size (HAES) approach and helps empower folks to ditch the scale and teach them how to listen to their bodies’ needs intuitively. That is just one idea that I have, and I think to execute it, I’m going to need the support of my mentors and to look at the existing literature to find what kinds of interventions have been effective in the past. 

What is your favorite thing to do that is unrelated to your role at Hogg? Relatedly, what do you like to do to take care of your own well-being? 

My favorite thing to do is cook, and I do think that it’s also one of my many forms of self-care— especially by learning traditional Mexican recipes I ask my mom for over the phone. I love being able to recreate these dishes I grew up eating because it serves as a reminder that I am a part of a rich and everlasting community, which makes me feel empowered and less alone.  


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