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.
"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
"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
The Ohio State University
"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
University of Pennsylvania
Nikita's Research Paper & Video
"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
" 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
La Jolla, CA
"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
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
"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
"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
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
"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
Iowa State University
"This summer was a learning experience, I cannot wait for more to come!"
Flora's Research Paper & Video
Beatriz La Rota
"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
North Carolina State Univeristy
"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
Kansas State Univeristy
"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
University of California - Los Angeles
"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
Texas Christian University
"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
Kent State University
"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
University of California - Davis
"I spent my summer comparing and analyzing conservation-based agricultural methods in Mexico."
Victor's Research Paper & Video