From the Iowa State University Alumni Association
BS Agronomy ’08
MS Crop Production and Physiology ’10
Des Moines, Iowa
Director of Iowa and Midwest Education Programs for The World Food Prize Foundation, Catherine Swoboda dedicates herself to her work and humanitarian interests.
Inspired in high school by meeting Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug, Swoboda has become a leader in bridging agriculture, science, and education. She helped create and directs the Iowa Youth Institute, a World Food Prize and ISU initiative that is currently emerging as a national educational model inspiring high school students to confront global challenges in agriculture and environmental sustainability.
An appointee to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Swoboda actively serves on various STEM committees, promotes STEM across Iowa, and, although she was the youngest person at the table, led the discussion of “Our STEM Future” at the recent Governor’s STEM Summit. She addresses classrooms, educators, administrators, civic groups, and community leaders statewide to advance STEM and expand the Iowa Youth Institute.
In 2012, she was chief organizer of the world’s premier conference on global agriculture, the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue Symposium, which drew more than 1,200 participants from 65 countries, including the Secretary General of the United Nations. Her leadership of the World Food Prize annual Iowa Hunger Summit has expanded the summit into the largest, most significant event devoted to alleviating hunger and food insecurity. She is expanding the World Food Prize education programs nationally, working with nine land-grant universities across the country.
A lifelong sports enthusiast, Swoboda played for the Cyclone women’s hockey team. She teaches fifth grade religious education at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines; her students there have come to Iowa from North and South America, Asia, and Africa.
Swoboda is an ISU Alumni Association life member.