Marshalltown High School students Isaac Medina, Ellen Podhajsky, and Adam Willman joined other top students from across Iowa last month to explore scientific, agricultural and global career opportunities at the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute at Iowa State University.
The day was filled with interactive workshops. Students, who had all researched and written a 5-page paper on a global food security topic, presented their innovative solutions to global problems and also saw how their interests intersect with real-world careers, during interactive activities and lab tours on campus.
The students presented on supporting strong, accountable government to reduce drug violence and poverty in Mexico; controlling PPR to improve livestock and human health in the Central African Republic; and improving management of pasture and water resources in Mongolia, respectively. They were accompanied to the event by teacher Susan Fritzell.
Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa State University President Steven Leath, Dupont Pioneer President Paul Schickler and World Food Prize President Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn all spoke at the event, which was made possible by generous support from Paul and Claudia Schickler.
During lunch, while students rubbed elbows with the state’s business leaders and other experts, teachers spanning multiple disciplines from around the state collaborated and discussed how to integrate global issues and food security into their curricula.
Gov. Branstad had lunch with students and also addressed them during a keynote speech.
“Students, your participation today at this truly unique program the World Food Prize has created is a significant first step in shaping your future education, your careers, and your lives,” Branstad said. “Dr. Borlaug, who founded the World Food Prize, was passionately committed to science and its potential to improve lives, produce more food, and eliminate poverty. His life is an inspiration for all of you here today – it’s up to you to set the course for the 21st century.”
Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, explained that the primary goal of the event is to get students excited about the huge variety of career paths available to them, and to show them how they can make a difference in the world.
“The goal of this program is to inspire the next generation of scientific and humanitarian heroes to help solve global issues, and we hope to eventually have every school in the state participate each year,” Quinn said.