World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute fosters future leaders

March 8, 2016

Lincoln, Neb. — How can humans improve the quality, quantity and availability of food around the globe?  

World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute
High school students participate in hands-on learning activities at UNL during the 2015 World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute. (Courtesy photo/World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute)

High school students from across Nebraska will share their ideas on these topics at the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute March 14 on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus and Nebraska Innovation Campus.

To participate, youth research a global issue related to food security and think of their own solution to alleviate hunger in a selected foreign country. Students write an essay and present their work during the one-day event, which has taken place at UNL since 2005. At the Nebraska Youth Institute, students discuss their findings with a group of experts in different aspects of food-related industries such as science, agriculture and policy.

"It can be very inspiring for high school students to engage with these experts,” said Brooke Talbott, World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute coordinator. "It gets students thinking about how they can solve the grand challenge of sustainably and nutritiously feeding a growing world population."  

Students can also take part in educational sessions and interactive tours of academic departments on campus. They will learn about current research and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

"This event is an opportunity for youth interested in topics like science, policy, education and agriculture to explore what the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has to offer," Talbott said. 

Each student who writes an essay earns a $500 scholarship from the agricultural college for each year they participate. Past participants of the Nebraska Youth Institute are eligible to apply for the Maunder-Borlaug Food Security Scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship for incoming college freshmen who are working toward a degree related to food security. Sophomore students can also apply or renew. 

Based off of their essays and presentations, a number of students will be selected to participate in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute event in Iowa this fall. The event is in conjunction with the awarding of the World Food Prize, often likened to the "Nobel Peace Prize of Agriculture." Students will listen in on the Borlaug Dialogue, tour innovative industrial and research facilities, participate in food packaging, and present their research to global leaders in food security. Students also will have the chance to connect with high school and college students who have conducted scientific research around the world.  

By participating in the Global Youth Institute, students are eligible to apply for the prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, an all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience. Students work with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Students are also eligible to apply for the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship, a fully paid internship where students are stationed at research centers and field offices across the United States.

"The Nebraska Youth Institute and other World Food Prize programs can be a stepping stone for future leaders in global food security," Talbott said.  

For more information, contact Talbott at 402-472-9782 or btalbott2@unl.edu.

The event is hosted by the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at UNL. It is made possible with the generous support of The World Food Prize Foundation, The Malaika Foundation and Bruce and Kathy Maunder with the Maunder-Borlaug Scholarship.


Brooke Talbott
IANR World Food Prize Coordinator
Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication
402-472-9782
btalbott2@unl.edu