Paulina Gomez

Paulina Gomez


Title: Program Evaluation Associate

As Program Evaluation Associate, Paulina Gomez oversees Pilot Light’s evaluation strategy, data collection and analysis, report building, and assists in administrative tasks for all of Pilot Light’s programs.

She is passionate about culturally relevant Food Education, community-centered and equity-based evaluation methods, and– more recently– urban agriculture! Paulina comes from an educational background in Caribbean anthropology, but has previously worked in administration and program implementation of various educational non-profits, as well as grocery store service management. In addition, she currently works closely with various educational initiatives under the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Humboldt Park, Chicago.

Favorite Food Education Standard: FES #7 – We can advocate for food choices and changes that impact ourselves, our communities, and our world.

I believe that a significant part of holistic Food Education involves thinking about food justice, and how to build more sustainable and equitable food futures. Strength lies in community voices and advocacy, and teaching this to students instills in them that they have the power to create the change they wish to see in the world. I think it allows students– and myself– to see food and community in a new light, and encourages them to think critically about something they might usually take for granted. For me, knowledge is power and community is power, and food education is a great tool to advocate for community change.

A favorite food memory or recipe:

Recipe for Tembleque (coconut pudding – a traditional Puerto Rican dessert and personal favorite!):

  • 2 (13.5-14oz) cans of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of sugar (I like mine sweeter, so I do 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract cinnamon for topping
  • A mold to place mixture in stove and saucepan

Directions: 1.Set out molds for tembleque and measure out all ingredients 2. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 can of coconut milk until completely dissolved and smooth. 3. Pour above mixture into saucepan along with remaining can of coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. 4.Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking and stirring until thick, about 1-3 minutes. 5.Pour mixture into mold(s) and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap. 6.Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours 7.Run a knife around the edge of the mold to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

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