The World Food Prize Foundation

Youth participate in World Food Prize Foundation summer internships and fellowships

10/12/2022

This summer, the World Food Prize Foundation supported 23 interns and four fellows through the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship and the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship. 

Borlaug-Ruan interns engaged virtually at 19  partner organizations in 11 different countries, working alongside world-renowned scientists and policymakers, including World Food Prize Laureates Jan Low (2016) and Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted (2021). Interns’ research topics included the gender impacts of push-pull farming, irrigation system development, bioinformatics,  the carbon credit market, climate change and many more.

“This year we strived to engage more significantly with both interns and fellows to support their professional development in new ways,” said Rebecca Picard, Senior Program Manager of Internships and Youth Impact. “Despite working virtually again this year, we definitely saw a lot of growth in a short period of time from these exceptional young leaders.”

“I believe this internship has brought me one step closer to knowing the field I want to dedicate my life to,” said Borlaug-Ruan intern and Maastricht University student Maria Lomba of her placement at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica. “My favorite part has been being part of a team that shares the same visions and perspective as me, and the knowledge that we are all working towards a same purpose that will have practical implementation on the ground.”

Four Wallace-Carver fellows joined three unique USDA research centers and offices across the United States. They supported the USDA in a variety of ways, from groundbreaking laboratory-based research to operating the USDA Farmers Market in Washington, D.C.

Both the internship and fellowship provide unique opportunities for youth to contribute to leading research institutions and facilities with substantive research and projects.

When reflecting on her experience at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Crop Production & Pest Control Research Unit, Wallace-Carver fellow and Pomona College student Victoria Brown noted, “I felt like I was contributing to the lab, and I got to learn even more by shadowing and asking questions about the work of other technicians in the lab.” 

Interns and fellows finished the experience with renewed energy and dedication to solving the most pressing issues in global food and agriculture. 

“Working at IFAD helped me realize how passionate I am for advocating for rural smallholders who are disproportionately affected by food insecurity,” said Molly Simmons, a Borlaug-Ruan intern and Iowa State University student placed at the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Washington, D.C. “Learning about the many food security issues affecting people now has inspired me to want to work on the ground with smallholders to directly provide aid and supplies for their operations.”

“We have been blown away by this year’s interns and fellows,” said Senior Director of Global Youth Programs & Partnerships Keegan Kautzky. “Completing work alongside top researchers and professionals in a mostly virtual setting can be a real challenge, and these students rose to the occasion. They have gained great knowledge of global food security issues and developed the professional skills to support them in their bright futures.” 

The Borlaug-Ruan International Internship provides students a unique professional experience working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research and development organizations around the world. Since its inception in 1998, the Foundation has placed over 300 students in the Internship. 

The Wallace-Carver Fellowship, organized in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers exceptional college students the opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned scientists and policymakers through paid fellowships at leading USDA research centers and offices across the United States. Over 250 students from 108 universities have been employed by the program since 2011. 

Applications are now open for the 2023 cohorts of Borlaug-Ruan Interns and USDA Wallace-Carver Fellows. Both experiences will be in-person, and applications will close on December 4, 2022.

Congratulations to these young leaders in food and agriculture. 
2022 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns:

  • Jahmir Callahan: The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) | Hyderabad, INDIA
  • Idania Carrillo-Martin: International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) | Nairobi, KENYA
  • Rachel Currant: International Potato Center (CIP) | Nairobi, Kenya
  • Lexie Goldman: International Food Policy Research Center (IFPRI) | Washington, D.C., USA
  • Lavanya Gupta: International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) | Nairobi, KENYA
  • Kelly He: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) | Lalitpur, NEPAL
  • Rahul Inaganti: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) | Nairobi, KENYA
  • Nihar Janga: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) | Patancheru, INDIA
  • Angel Lindsey: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) | Nairobi, KENYA
  • Maria Lomba: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture | San Jose, COSTA RICA
  • Gabrielle Louis: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas | Rabat, MOROCCO
  • Nyah Lues: M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) | Chennai, INDIA
  • Adithya Madduri: The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) | Tainan, TAIWAN
  • Garrett McFarren: EARTH University | Limon, COSTA RICA
  • Diya Nair: WorldFish | Penang, MALAYSIA
  • Mia O’Connor-Walker: Grow Indigo | New Delhi, INDIA
  • Jessica Pedro-Pascual: International Water Management Institute (IWMI) | Lalitpur, NEPAL
  • Kavina Peters: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) | Varanasi, INDIA
  • Andie Pinga: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) | Washington, D.C., USA
  • Katharina Schmidt: China Agricultural University (CAU) | Beijing, CHINA
  • Shria Shyam: International Rice Research Institute | Los Baños, PHILIPPINES
  • Molly Simmons: International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) | Washington, D.C., USA
  • Chloe Yang: The S.M. Sehgal Foundation | Gurgaon, INDIA

2022 USDA Wallace-Carver Fellows:

  • Hannah Bernstein: USDA Farmers Market, Agricultural Marketing Service | Washington, D.C.
  • Victoria Brown: Crop Production & Pest Control Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service | Lafayette, IN
  • Margaret Huang: Food Processing and Sensory Quality, Southern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service | New Orleans, LA
  • Kristy Lin: Crop Production & Pest Control Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service | Lafayette, IN
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