|Amb. Quinn and Sec. Vilsack sign the MOU expanding the Wallace-Carver Internship Program|
DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 19, 2013)—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn came together today at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa, before a crowd of 200 youth and business leaders to formalize a partnership enhancing the Wallace-Carver Internship Program for students involved in cutting-edge agriculture, science and research.
The partnership, as represented in the formal Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the World Food Prize Foundation that they signed, will expand opportunities for high school and college students and prepare the next generation of agricultural and scientific leaders. John Ruan III, chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation, also participated in the ceremony.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to be inspired to commit their lives to agriculture and the fight against global hunger,” said Vilsack. “USDA thanks the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute as well as the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship programs for their efforts to create opportunities for young people pursuing careers in agriculture and related fields. These students truly are the best and brightest, and they will discover—much like I did—that USDA is a dynamic agency that positively impacts people’s lives every day.”
“Dr. Norman Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, started his career as a USDA employee and would have been very proud to see this special connection being established between our two organizations to inspire young students,” said Quinn, who is president of the World Food Prize Foundation. “The World Food Prize is growing education programs across the country to cultivate the most promising students in science and agriculture, and we are excited to now offer those students remarkable opportunities to explore careers in the USDA.”
Every year, over 1,000 students across the country participate in the World Food Prize youth programs, through which they research a global food security issue, write a paper, and present their solutions. The top 150 students and their teachers travel to Des Moines to participate in an exchange of ideas with the world’s foremost leaders at the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. From there, they can also apply for the World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan International Internships at research centers around the globe.
Going forward, the USDA and the World Food Prize Foundation will annually choose the top students from across the country to participate in a one-week orientation at USDA headquarters in Washington before fanning out to assume internships with various USDA agencies and offices across the country. Students compete for the internships through the USDA Pathways Programs, a mechanism to recruit, hire, and retain current students and recent graduates, with oversight from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Besides strengthening the menu of USDA internship programs, the Wallace-Carver Internship helps attract and retain the best and brightest young people in careers in American agriculture.
Trisha Collins of Pleasantville, Iowa, currently a junior at Iowa State University majoring in Animal Science, has participated in all of the World Food Prize youth programs and the USDA Wallace-Carver Internship, and said the experiences have helped shape her future path.
“My experiences working with livestock in Ethiopia and doing cutting-edge research as a USDA Wallace-Carver Intern have completely changed my life. These unique opportunities have inspired me to focus my career and my energy on solving global challenges through science and agriculture,” Collins said.
The Wallace-Carver Internship helps to honor the legacies of George Washington Carver and Henry A. Wallace, two great American agricultural leaders of the 20th century. The internship offers students the opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned scientists and policymakers through paid internships at leading USDA research centers and offices.
USDA Virtual University ensures that all Wallace-Carver Interns have an Individual Development Plan, a mentor, and receive consistent training. For information on the Wallace-Carver Internship Program, click here. For information on other USDA internships, click here.
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World Food Prize: Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications
515.245.3794 (direct), 515.229.1705 (cell), or email@example.com
USDA Office of Communications: 202.720.4623