The World Food Prize Foundation

World Food Prize STEM Program to Host 400 High School Students and Teachers at Iowa State



Nicole Barreca, Communications and Events Coordinator
515.245.3735 (direct), 563.271.2995 (cell), or

Jacob Hunter, Director of Iowa Education
515.245.3727 (direct), 563.212.3508 (cell), or


World Food Prize STEM Program to Host 400 High School Students and Teachers at Iowa State

The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute is growing rapidly into a model STEM program with national recognition, reaching and inspiring students to explore STEM and agricultural career paths. Students will participate in unique interactive labs and interact with Governor Branstad, ISU President Steve Leath, and faculty and business leaders.

(Des Moines, Iowa) April 22, 2015 -- The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute at Iowa State University is growing rapidly into a national model – it has more than tripled in size in four years to engage with nearly 130 schools - and on Monday will bring together over 250 high school students and more than 140 teachers from across Iowa to explore critical global issues and academic and career paths in STEM fields.

A highlight of the day will be student interaction with Gov. Terry Branstad, ISU President Steven Leath, who is a plant scientist himself, and DuPont Pioneer President Paul Schickler, as well as numerous other academic and business leaders from across Iowa.

“Now more than ever, we need the next generation to be interested in our food system, and to have that spark of curiosity that will compel them to solve the greatest challenge in human history: How we can sustainably and nutritiously feed 9 billion people on our planet by 2050,” said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of The World Food Prize Foundation.

Dr. Norman Borlaug, Iowa’s great hero who is now enshrined in the U.S. Capitol for his great agricultural and humanitarian achievements, founded the World Food Prize and also envisioned this and other World Food Prize youth programs as the way to inspire the next generation of scientists and humanitarians to go into critical fields. 

On Monday, students from across the state will do hands-on experiments related to food security issues. Students will engage in interactive immersion sessions. Sessions include topics related to plant genetics, human nutrition, food security in Iowa, sustainability, and the environment.

Each participating high school student has written a research paper on a key issue, such as water scarcity or gender inequality, that impacts hunger in a developing country. During the event, the students will also propose their own solutions in small-group roundtable discussions facilitated by academic and industry experts.

“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," said Ella Gehrke a sophomore at Iowa State and graduate of Waukee High School. “I can speak from experience that the Iowa Youth Institute can change a student's life. After participating in the Iowa Youth Institute, I found a career path: I now attend Iowa State University as a Global Resource Systems major with a focus in biology and human health.”

This year marks the fourth Iowa Youth Institute. Other World Food Prize youth programs also include the Global Youth Institute, the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship and the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship.

EVENT DETAILS: This year's Iowa Youth Institute will take place Monday, April 27, at the Scheman Center at Iowa State University in Ames, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Media are welcome to attend.


8-9 a.m. Participants arrive.
9-9:30 a.m. Morning keynote, featuring Paul Schickler, President Steve Leath, Amb. Kenneth Quinn, and Dean Wendy Wintersteen
9:30 a.m.-Noon. Half the students will present their research, and half will participate in interactive activities on campus.
12-1 p.m. Students will have roundtable discussions over lunch with Iowa business leaders, university faculty experts and researchers, and the Governor and ISU president Steven Leath. Teachers will network and share how they are incorporating the program into their curriculum.  
1 to 1:30 p.m. Afternoon keynote, featuring the Governor and ISU President Steven Leath.
1:30-4 p.m. Half the students will present their papers and half will participate in immersion sessions on campus.
4-4:30 p.m. Closing remarks and time for students to interact with ISU students and former World Food Prize interns.

WHERE: The Scheman Center at Iowa State University, Ames and various laboratories across the campus. (Located at the corner of University and Lincoln Way; Enter from Center Drive.)

MEDIA DETAILS: Please check in at the registration desk on the first floor of the Scheman Building. Media are welcome to attend any and all parts of the day.

SOCIAL MEDIA: @TheNextNormIA and @WorldFoodPrize will tweet the event, using the hashtag #IYI15.

More information is available at


The World Food Prize holds statewide youth institutes in several states to inspire young people to continue the legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug and fight hunger by pursuing educational and career paths in global agriculture; the goal is to eventually have every school in our home state of Iowa participate. The top students each year and others from around the country are invited to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in October, where they participate in other World Food Prize events such as the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, which annually draws 1,200 people from 65 countries, and the Laureate Award Ceremony. There, youth interact with experts, participate in hunger relief programs and activities, and present their research findings to peers and global leaders. Over 20 students from the programs each year are then selected as Borlaug-Ruan International Interns, and are sent on all-expenses-paid, eight-week internships at research centers in Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Middle East. Finally, students who participate in the World Food Prize youth programs are also eligible to apply for Wallace-Carver internships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, The World Food Prize has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. The World Food Prize Foundation is based in Des Moines, Iowa, in the United States.

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