The World Food Prize Foundation

2021 Borlaug-Ruan Interns

The prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship provides exceptional high school students the opportunity to work with world renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

In the summer of 2021, twenty interns were selected for a virtual internship with research centers in China, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, and Taiwan to get a firsthand view of pressing food security and nutritional problems in poverty-stricken areas and take part in ground-breaking field and laboratory-based research.

Each intern develops a research report documenting their personal experiences and the outcomes of their research projects. These reports are posted below each intern's name. To learn more about the research centers, click on the corresponding links.  

Emma Barrett

Yale University

M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai, INDIA

"I explore the potential of NUS (neglected and underutilized species) to build economic, nutritional, and environmental resiliency in the hopes of uplifting the human condition for rural citizens in India and across the world."

Emma's Research Paper & Video

Lindsey Berebitsky

Purdue University

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, PHILIPPINES

"This summer, I got the opportunity to work with Dr. Amelia Henry and her group at IRRI in Los Baños, Philippines, where I was lucky enough to take virtual visits to the rice fields, meet with social and natural scientists to discuss the development and acceptance of new crop lines, and learn to use programs like R and ImageJ to collect and analyze data on rice-leaf trichomes. This data may one day be used to help develop new drought-tolerant varieties of rice to help feed the world and combat the effects of climate change on agriculture!"

Lindsey's Research Paper & Video

Hannah Bernstein

The Ohio State University

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in El Batán, MEXICO

"My internship is revolved around reducing postharvest losses in rural Mexico. Smallholder farmers produce more than 30% of our global food supply, but up to 25% of what they produce can be lost before even reaching the food supply. If we want to build a more sustainable global food system and feed the ever-growing population, we need to work on minimizing how much food and resources are wasted before even reaching the consumer level."

Hannah's Research Paper & Video


Nikita Bharati

University of Pennsylvania

The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) in Tainan, TAIWAN

Nikita's Research Paper & Video

Grace Campidilli

Cornell University

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, NIGERIA

"During my time as a BR intern, I worked with Dr. Nimo Wiredu to conduct a thorough analysis of socioeconomic survey data of smallholder farm households in Mozambique and to complete an in-depth literature review of climate smart agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Collectively, this experience enabled me to gain a holistic understanding of the impacts of climate smart agriculture strategies on farm performance, welfare, and adaptability throughout Sub-Saharan Africa."

Grace's Research Paper & Video


Kathey Chen

Binghamton University

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing, CHINA

Lauren Chuhta

Greenwich, NY

ICIPE-African Insect Science for Food and Health in Nairobi, KENYA

" I am interning at ICIPE researching communication methods in order to make push-pull technology, a system of intercropping, more accessible for smallholder farmers. The technology is proven to drastically increase crop yields and improve soil quality, and by making it more available to Kenyan farmers, more families may realize economic independence, food security, and access to education."

Lauren's Research Paper & Video

Mira Gowda

La Jolla, CA

The WorldFish Center in Penang, MALAYSIA

"This summer I interned at WorldFish Center, where I created a proposal for a fish-based nutrition program in Assam, India that would both add valuable micronutrients to women and children’s diets and support women entrepreneurs. I am now working with WorldFish to harness the creativity of home chefs from around the planet by asking them to create and share their own recipes with fish powder."

Mira's Research Paper & Video


Vaughn Greason

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Colombo, SRI LANKA

Brianna Green

Cornell University

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, KENYA

"Guided by Dr. Florence Mutua's veterinary One Health expertise and her own Kenyan heritage, I have reviewed, thoroughly discussed, and written about the current state of antibiotic use and AMR repercussions among Kenyan poultry farmers whose livelihoods are of great interest in the effort to feed and protect Kenyan peoples in a sustainable manner for generations to come."

Brianna's Research Paper & Video

Alexander Hutchinson

Messiah University

ICIPE-African Insect Science for Food and Health in Nairobi, KENYA

"This summer, I was an intern at ICIPE where I focused on designing a survey which I used to interview smallholder Kenya farmers about aflatoxin contamination in maize. The results of the research could be used to inform future agricultural policy and training programs in Kenya."

Alex's Research Paper & Video

Emerald Izuakor

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

EARTH University in San Jose, COSTA RICA

"This summer, I worked with Universidad EARTH to develop a document describing regenerative agriculture and its importance. Our world is quickly changing, and regenerative agriculture is one of the many solutions that can help save the planet!"

Emerald's Research Paper & Video

Flora Kafunda

Iowa State University

M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai, INDIA

"This summer was a learning experience, I cannot wait for more to come!"

Flora's Research Paper & Video

Beatriz La Rota

Johnston, IA

The S.M Sehgal Foundation in Gurgaon, INDIA

"This summer I’ve been researching how women in India can help in agriculture sustainability as a career. This is really important to empower women in India, because women’s progress is global progress."

Beatriz's Research Paper & Video

Clancy Larmour

North Carolina State Univeristy

International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, PERU

"While working at the International Potato Center I read through databases of sRNA sequences and compared certain data points to more concrete tests to help find a cheaper and faster method of viral detection in potatoes and sweet potatoes."

Clancy's Research Paper & Video

Kate Lewis

Kansas State Univeristy

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, KENYA

"Through my virtual work with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), I enhanced my perspective on a variety of global One Health issues. I am thankful to ILRI and my mentors for encouraging systems thinking and impacting my future as a veterinarian."

Kate's Research Paper & Video

Kiran Marla

University of California - Los Angeles

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru, INDIA 

"I researched dietary diversity in India by collecting community level data and conducting a descriptive analysis. This opportunity allowed me to better understand how food insecurity impacts the nutritional health of community members."

Kiran's Research Paper & Video

Victoria Saucedo

Texas Christian University

Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Limited (Mahyco) in Jalna, INDIA 

"This summer, I analyzed the three components of the new Indian farming bill that was passed in India in 2020. My work matters because the laws allow farmers more freedom as to how they buy, sell, trade, and interact with consumers in the agricultural markets."

Victoria's Research Paper & Video

Taylor Thomas

Kent State University

ICIPE-African Insect Science for Food and Health in Nairobi, KENYA

"As a Borlaug-Ruan Intern, I was able to interview multiple push-pull farmers from western Kenya. This experience has allowed me to broaden my perspective on agriculture while also motivating me for the future."

Taylor's Research Paper & Video

Victor Wall

University of California - Davis

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in El Batán, MEXICO

"I spent my summer comparing and analyzing conservation-based agricultural methods in Mexico."

Victor's Research Paper & Video


© 2024 The World Food Prize Foundation. All Rights Reserved.