World Food Prize selects 24 students for International Internship Program

The World Food Prize Foundation, Des Moines, Iowa, announced it will send 24 high school students abroad for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program at renowned international research centers and NGOs this summer. The students hail from Iowa and 12 other states and will delve into issues related to global hunger and poverty during eight-week internships in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of this program, which was created by Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr. in 1998, allowing high-school-aged student interns to participate in projects with distinguished researchers at leading agricultural research centers around the globe. While getting a firsthand view of real and pressing food security issues and nutrition problems in poverty-stricken areas, the students become an integral part of a project, spending time in the lab as well as days or weeks at a time in the field conducting research and interviews, and gathering data.

The program has grown significantly over the past 20 years, initially sending just two students overseas the first year. At the culmination of the twentieth year, 322 young aspiring scientists will have participated in the internship that has created a significant impact on their education and career choices.

“This is one the most unique and innovative programs in the United States,” said Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. “The Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program seeks to inspire high school students to education and careers in science in order to confront and eliminate food insecurity. Norman Borlaug told us that the great challenge of the 21st century is whether or not we can eradicate hunger, poverty, and malnutrition, and meet what is the greatest challenge human beings have ever faced: are we going to be able to sustainably and nutritiously feed the over 9 billion people who will be on our planet? It will be up to you—Borlaug-Ruan Interns—and your generation to decide whether we meet this challenge or not.”

The interns are involved in a myriad of global projects dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger such as: fisheries and aquaculture studies; plant biotechnology research; micro-credit and the women’s self-help concept; the influence of education on household food security; livestock value chains; and the calculation of Vitamin C concentration in numerous potato varieties.

A prerequisite for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship is attending the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which occurs each October. Youth Institute participants present research papers and interact with World Food Prize Laureates and renowned experts to discuss issues relating to food security throughout the world.

Interns from High Plains Journal coverage area are Molly Carroll, Plymouth, Minnesota; Hermela Gebremariam, Fairfield, Iowa; Kaci Ginn, Olin, Iowa; Cassie He, College Station, Texas; Colton Ketcham, Danville, Iowa; Chase Krug, Marion, Iowa; Lane Kunzie, Corydon, Iowa; JayEven McGee, Benson, Minnesota; Jaxon Mullinnix, Lone Tree, Iowa; Sydney Sherer, Pisgah, Iowa; and Olivia Tidwell, Sioux City, Iowa.