SHS Students Participate in the World Food Prize

SHS Students Participate in the World Food Prize
Posted on 05/09/2018
World Food Prize Participants

Last week, 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.

 “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.”

Mentored by Terri Cuttell from Spencer High School, Emma Schwarck researched Malnutrition in Comoros; Ty Schoelerman researched plants in Ukraine. 

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.

“IYI is one of the best experiences for students,” said Casey Dunley, an educator from Des Moines Roosevelt. “From researching real-world issues to generating viable solutions, to creating the paper based on new learning methods, to today’s event; this is a wonderful opportunity to show students that they have the power to have an impact on the future.” 

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.

“I commend you for being here, for embracing the desire to improve the global food supply, and for wanting to take action on behalf of people you might never know,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator and Acting Deputy Under Secretary REE, USDA during her morning keynote presentation. “You, as a generation, are important to USDA, because you will be the consumers, the employees, and the leaders of our future. Your efforts can make the difference.”

In 2017, The Iowa Youth Institute hosted a record participation of 309 students from more than 134 schools, and aims to eventually reach every school in Iowa to meaningfully engage students interested in these careers. This one-day event is offered at no cost to teachers or students. More details are available at