The World Food Prize Foundation

Michigan Youth Institute

What is the Michigan Youth Institute?


The Michigan Youth Institute is a life-changing experience coordinated by Michigan State University where students in grades 7-12 engage with local leaders and experts on critical global challenges, participate in hands-on activities, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Michigan and around the world. The Michigan Youth Institute is hosted by Michigan State University with the generous support of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan 4-H, Michigan 4-H Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan FFA, and MSU International Studies and Programs.

May 9, 2024 
At the Michigan State University & Virtual Participation

Registration Due:
March 15, 2024

Event Flyer 


Paper Instructions

Poster Instructions

Poster Due:
April 19, 2024

MSU Library Research Guide 


Note: All (virtual and in-person) participants and their mentor/teacher will need to participate in a pre-event online orientation via Zoom. Date for orientation will be on April 25, 2024 at different times: 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.


Student Registration Student Paper Upload Student Poster Upload
Teacher Registration Expert/Staff Registration




Why participate?

Students who participate in the Michigan Youth Institute earn recognition as a Borlaug Scholar, and qualify for internships and further opportunities

At this exciting event, participating students who are in grades 7 through 12 have the opportunity to:

  • Present research and recommendations on ways to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with statewide experts;

  • Connect with other student leaders from across Michigan to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships;

  • Explore the issues, current research and opportunities to make a difference at Michigan State University; and

  • Interact with global leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in Michigan working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world.

Papers will be evaluated by The World Food Prize Board of Reviewers. This distinguished group of educators and experts was established to mentor and personally encourage students. Reviewers write thoughtful, personalized feedback to each student who participates in the Youth Institute.


How to participate

To participate in the Michigan Youth Institute, students research a global issue and write a paper under the supervision of a teacher or mentor (using the downloadable guideline above and resources below). Seventh through twelfth grade students are eligible to apply.

Sample Paper
Click the link to view a Global Challenge Sample Paper
Click HERE for Adobe Reader X update if forms do not load
Paper Topic Resources
Click the link and you will find topic definitions, solution examples and suggested resources
to help get you started in your research






The registration and paper submission deadline is March 15, 2024.

Note: All virtual participants and their mentor/teacher will need to participate in a pre-event online orientation via Zoom. Date for orientation will be announced at a later time.

There is no registration cost to participate in the Institute and meals will be provided during the event. However, both student and teacher/mentor participants must organize their own transportation to and from the event. Attend the Michigan Youth Institute on May 9, 2024 at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI or virtually via Zoom.

For more information please contact Coordinators:

Brian Wibby at: or 906-439-5065

Debra Barrett at: or 269-240-1986

or visit:


Further opportunities for participants:

The Global Youth Institute
The top high school students from each Youth Institute will be competitively selected as delegates to the Global Youth Institute, held every October in Des Moines, Iowa. 

The Global Youth Institute is an exciting three-day program where young leaders interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and the more than 1,000 global leaders from 65 countries attending the World Food Prize's annual international symposium.


Borlaug-Ruan International Internships
An all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience for high school students to work with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Borlaug-Ruan Interns get a firsthand view of pressing food security and nutritional problems in poverty-stricken areas and take part in groundbreaking research.

any student who has participated in, volunteered for, or has other involvement with a World Food Prize Foundation program and is 17 years old or older are eligible to apply for the Borlaug Ruan International Internship. 


​​​​​USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowships
A paid summer research or policy placement for college students at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory, agency, or at USDA headquarters in Washington D.C. Wallace-Carver Fellows analyze agricultural and economic policy; assist in the management of food, nutrition and rural development programs; and take part in groundbreaking field and laboratory-based research. Fellows travel to Washington DC as part of their fellowship for a week-long high-level leadership program hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

All Borlaug Scholars are eligible to apply for a the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship.

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