The World Food Prize Foundation

Iowa Youth Institute


What is the Iowa Youth Institute?

The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute (IYI) is a transformative experience for students held at Iowa State University each April. During this day long event students are able to immerse themselves in the world of food security while presenting their ideas and findings to professions. The below video recaps the Iowa Youth Institute.




Dates for Iowa Youth Institute:

Students begin paper: Anytime!

Registration Opens: February 1, 2017

Paper Deadline: March 27, 2017

Iowa Youth Institute: April 24, 2017

Why should a student want to participate?

At this exciting day-long event, participating high school students with have the following opportunities:

  1. ​Scholarship – students that complete the paper and attend the day long event receive a $500 scholarship to Iowa State University in any of the career paths listed to the right.
  2. Networking – engage with research and industry experts, state and community leaders, members of the NGO community, and your peers to discuss solutions to global hunger and poverty.
  3. Hands on Experience – Participate, with your teachers, in interactive activities on Iowa State University’s campus to explore research and work currently taking place in Iowa to address global challenges.
  4. Global Youth Institute – If you are one of the top students, you can advance to the Global Youth Institute. This once in a lifetime experience allows you interact with peers, like you, from across the nation.
  5. Paid Fellowships with USDA– Students that complete the program are eligible to apply for a United States Department of Agriculture Wallace Carver Fellowship through the USDA working in research facilities across the United States.


How does a student participate in the Iowa Youth Institute?

To participate in the Iowa Youth Institute, students research a global issue and write a three- to five-page paper under the supervision of a teacher mentor (using the downloadable guidelines above). To participate:

  1. Immediately contact the World Food Prize at or call at 515-245-3702 to express your interest.
  2. Access the paper instructions and resources in the above, right-hand sidebar or here.
  3. The student/s will then write about global food security issues in a developing country*.
    *Note: It is important for planning purposes to keep the World Food Prize aware of your intent to complete the paper as we anticipate the number of participants and plan the event.
  4. Your school then selects the one student to represent your school as its Borlaug Scholar.
    1. Every school is guaranteed one spot. More spots will be available for schools after the deadline as space allows.
    2. The additional spots will be allocated based on the number of students participating at the local school level.
  5. Submit the student’s paper using the link in the above, right-hand sidebar.
  6. Submit the teacher mentor's information in the above the link, right-hand sidebar.
  7. The World Food Prize will then contact the student and teacher-mentor team with more information and paper status.


Students in grades 8th to 12th grade are eligible to attend the IYI. However, 12th grade students are ineligible to advance to the Global Youth Institute, but can still receive the scholarship, experience the IYI, and apply for the USDA Wallace Carver Fellowship. Special accommodations for other students may be made upon request.

Lunch and program expenses at the Iowa Youth Institute are covered by the World Food Prize Foundation and Iowa State University for participating student delegates and their teacher mentors.

Student and teacher participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the event at Iowa State University.




Click here to see photos from the 2016 Iowa Youth Institute!

Click here to see photos from the 2015 Iowa Youth Institute!

Click here and here to see photos from the 2014 Iowa Youth Institute.

Click here to see photos from the 2013 Iowa Youth Institute.

Click here to see photos from the 2012 Iowa Youth Institute.



For more information contact the World Food Prize Director of Iowa Education Programs, Kelsey Tyrrell at or 515.245.3702.


Who has attended the Iowa Youth Institute?

As of 2016, we have 53% of high schools across Iowa actively participating in the Iowa Youth Institute. At the 2016 Iowa Youth Institute we had 281 students from 126 high schools attend the event. Below is a map of all of the schools that have participated in the past 5 years, they have a dark green dot. Schools that have not participated have a gray dot.

Active Schools:

Inactive Schools:


Since 1994, over 1,000 Iowa high school students and 400 teachers from 200 high schools across the state have participated in the Global Youth Institute.

In addition, more than 200 Iowa high school students have traveled to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East through the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program to work alongside renowned scientists at leading research centers.

How to Participate

Paper Instructions:

 IYI Student Handbook

Poster for classroom (below):


Submit your registration information:

Student Paper & Information

Teacher-Mentor Information

(Registration is closed until 2/1/17)

Contact the Program Director

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