Program inspires future leaders in global food security

WFP
High school students from across Nebraska participated in the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute on March 4 on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's East Campus. (Hailey Walmsley, agriculture education student)

March 8, 2019

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

High school students from across Nebraska shared their ideas on these topics at the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute on March 4 on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's East Campus. 

To participate, high school students researched a global issue related to food security and thought of their own solution to alleviate hunger in a selected country. Students wrote an essay and presented their work during the one-day event, which has taken place at the university 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’s very inspiring for students to come together and present their ideas based on the research they’ve done,” said Taylor Hart, World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute coordinator. "This event truly fosters an environment focused on collaboration and bouncing ideas off participants and experts who come from a variety of backgrounds, all who are passionate about ending global hunger.”   

At the event, students heard from Jill O’Donnell, director of the Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance, and Ken Isley, administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. Students also took part in educational sessions and interactive tours of academic departments on campus. They learned 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 (CASNR) has to offer," Hart said.  

 Each student who writes an essay and attends the Nebraska Youth Institute earns a $500 scholarship from CASNR 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 on their essays and presentations, students are selected to participate in the 2019 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute event in Iowa. 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 have the opportunity 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 are a great way to jump start careers of future leaders in global food security," Hart said. 

For more information, contact Taylor Hart at 402-472-7928 or thart6@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 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 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. 

Taylor Hart
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
402-472-7928
thart6@unl.edu