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Reylan Cook MPP'25 has a deep passion for social and health policy. One of the highlights of her time thus far at Duke was connecting with distinguished lecturer Jasmine Crowe-Houston, the founder and CEO of Goodr, a food waste company that aims to end food insecurity in underserved communities. Jasmine Crowe-Houston was on campus in the fall of 2023 to deliver the Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture. 

Student Story

Reylan Cook MPP/JD'25

Two women, smiling
Reylan Cook with Jasmine Crowe-Houston

Reylan Cook connected to Jasmine Crowe-Houston in part because her family has deep roots in the agricultural space which gives her  a sense of peace, she says. "I think it provides me with the sense of history and connection to my past."

Reylan grew up in Simpsonville, South Carolina and spent summers working on a farm. She attended the University of South Carolina and later served in an AmeriCorps program where she created a food pantry on campus that now serves 50,000 students, faculty, and staff. She says developing the program was life changing, and notes that one in four college students find themselves food insecure during their time as an undergraduate student.

Reylan attended both the public lecture and a private talk with Jasmine Crowe-Houston.

Inspired by the ideas she encountered in the talk, especially the exploration of an interdisciplinary approach to hunger and food waste, gave Reylan immediate connections to her own life.

"Looking towards the future I hope that we get a more intergenerational approach to farming," she says. "It's very hard for young individuals like me to see themselves on a farm thinking, 'Oh I can't make a lot of money there, I can't make an impact.' To be able to support young people who find themselves interested in agriculture, I think that's really what you have to do. You have to nurture that seed,  provide them with support and the actual resources that they need in order to create this to be a sustainable field."


More about the Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture

The Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture was endowed by a gift to Duke by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. Its purpose is to invite distinguished people in public life to speak to the Duke community. Sanford Lecturers are people of the highest personal and professional stature.

Browse Recent Lectures