The World Food Prize Foundation

The World Food Prize Invites All Iowa High Schools to Participate in the Iowa Youth Institute to Explore STEM Pathways


Des Moines, Iowa (Feb. 19, 2015) -- Today is STEM Day at the Iowa State Capitol and to encourage more students to explore academic and career paths in science and agriculture, the World Food Prize is inviting every high school in the state to send a student and teacher to its its Iowa Youth Institute on April 27 on the campus of Iowa State University.
The unique program continues to grow, and has been held up as a model for STEM curriculum nationwide. To participate, students write a paper outlining solutions to current global challenges in feeding the world, and then gather at Iowa State University for a day of presenting their ideas, participating in hands-on activities in labs and classrooms, and interacting with Iowa leaders. Participants also earn a $500 scholarship to ISU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
"Since we started the Iowa Youth Institute as its own unique program three years ago, more than half the schools in Iowa have sent student delegates and teachers to participate in this inspiring day," said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of The World Food Prize Foundation. "In honor of Iowa's hero, Dr. Norman Borlaug, who started the youth programs, our goal is to involve every school in the state in this wonderful opportunity and connect more students to potential career pathways in science, food, agriculture and nutrition." 
At the event, students present their ideas in small groups with peers, business leaders and professors; participate in interactive activities in labs and classrooms on campus; and hear from high-level speakers.

The top students will also be selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, a three-day event held each October during the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, and will be eligible for future opportunities to apply for international internships.

"I can speak from experience that the Iowa Youth Institute can change a student's life. Because it changed mine," said Ella Gehrke, a Waukee student now attending Iowa State University. "In high school I dreamed of being a marine biologist. After participating in the Iowa Youth Institute, I found a career path that fit my love of science and helping others: I now attend Iowa State University as a Global Resource Systems major with a focus in biology. 

"With the skills and connections I gained from the World Food Prize, I was able to travel to India. While in India, I worked as a service learner in the areas of food, nutrition and health. Additionally, I am on a team of students that was just selected to attend the "Thought for Food" conference in Portugal to share our idea of a solar food dehydrator to a panel of judges to start our own business and help alleviate hunger in remote areas. I hope to continue this work, and work in the medical field in the future."

The Iowa Youth Institute currently has participation from half of the high schools in the state and aims to reach every school in Iowa to meaningfully engage students interested in these subjects. It is offered at no cost to teachers or students. More details, instructions, and testimonials from past participants are available at

Questions may be directed to Jacob Hunter, Director of the Iowa Youth Institute, at or 515-245-3727.

Press contact: Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications,,  515-245-3794

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