Last Monday, the seventh annual World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute brought together 309 students from 134 high schools at Iowa State University to explore critical global food security issues and discover academic and career paths in STEM fields. Joining the group of students was Albia Community High School foreign exchange student, Yash Saboo from India.
Mentored by ACHS Ag instructor and FFA Advisor, Daryl Schofield, Yash researched spoilage and waste in India.
Since the inception of the program, the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute has engaged over 1,000 students from more than 225 schools across Iowa and continues reaching and inspiring students across our state to fight hunger at home and abroad and to explore STEM career paths. Students were immersed into the world food insecurity and interacted with Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Governor Adam Gregg, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting Chief Scientist & REE Deputy Under Secretary of USDA, world-renowned faculty experts and business leaders.
“I recall being here on campus for the first Iowa Youth Institute in 2012 when it was held in the Memorial Union,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds during the Youth Institute, “The fact that today we are only able to accommodate all of the students and teachers here on the floor of Hilton Coliseum is a testament to the vision of the World Food Prize leadership, and the hard work of everyone who has been involved, including the faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Your dedication and investment in the young leaders who are here today is remarkable and we are so fortunate to have leaders who value the talents and ideas of our students.”
The Iowa Youth Institute has now reached over 64 percent of all Iowa high schools since its inauguration in 2012 and has been referred to as the most unique and innovative event to inspire Iowa high school students to become global leaders. This innovative experience encourages students to explore academic and career paths in fields related to STEM, agriculture and global development and aims to inspire the next generation of leaders through authentic research presentations and networking opportunities with global experts.
Interested students select a developing country and research a key factor affecting its food security.
Students then present their ideas to a roundtable of university and industry experts at the Iowa Youth Institute, participate in interactive activities in labs and classrooms on campus, and interact with innovative leaders from across the state. All students who participate automatically receive a $500 scholarship to Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and are eligible to apply for the prestigious Wallace-Carver Fellowship program in partnership with the USDA. The top Iowa participants will also be selected to join scientists and policy experts from around the world at the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in October.
Since 2012, Iowa State University has awarded over $250,000 to students participating in World Food Prize programming, ensuring that young leaders have access to a high-quality education, professional mentors, and are prepared to tackle our world’s toughest issues in hunger and poverty. The top Iowa participants will also be selected to join scientists and policy experts from around the world at the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in October.
This one-day event is offered at no cost to teachers or students.
The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.
The World Food Prize holds statewide youth institutes in several states to inspire young people to continue the legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug and fight hunger by pursuing educational and career paths in global agriculture; the goal is to eventually have every school in our home state of Iowa participate.