The World Food Prize Foundation

The World Food Prize Foundation Selected 13 Students for Prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship

09/04/2020

The World Food Prize Foundation selected 13 students for its prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship. For the first time in the program’s 22-year history, the Foundation offered innovative, online internships for these exceptional students this past summer. 

Hailing from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the 2020 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns are interacting online with scientists and policymakers around the world to address issues related to reducing poverty and advancing global food security. 

Since 1998, the World Food Prize Foundation has sponsored  358 students on 8-week, all-expenses-paid research internships to work on food security issues and nutritional problems in developing regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Given the wide-spread global pandemic, the Foundation changed course this past summer  to create online learning, while still providing rewarding internships for these hunger fighters. 

“One of the things I am most excited for during this internship is [virtually] meeting the farmers of Kenya and getting a firsthand insight into the agriculture there,” said 2020 Borlaug-Ruan International Intern Amulya Pillutla. “I am also very excited to meet and work with my fellow interns and mentors. I am so thankful to the World Food Prize Foundation for making this internship happen in spite of the circumstances.” 

Although interns were unable to travel, they have developed valuable research skills, created lasting connections with mentors through online discussions and learned about the culture and history of the country that is the focus of their research. 

Dr. Norman Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. created the program in 1998 to inspire young people to consider academic and career paths in agricultural science, food technology and natural resource conservation.

“The Borlaug-Ruan International Internship reinforces the idea that food security is much more complex than it seems,” said former Borlaug-Ruan International Intern Akriti Bhattarai. “The more I learned about micronutrient deficiencies and biofortification for my research project, the more interested I became in this issue. My work as a summer intern solidified my resolve and commitment to combating food insecurity.” 

Interns are involved with a variety of projects dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger in: the production of cowpeas on the livelihoods of farmers; the preservation of indigenous cultures; and the ability of wheat to withstand droughts. Several are also conducting research on how the coronavirus pandemic may affect agriculture in their assigned regions.

A prerequisite for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship is attending the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which occurs each October. Global Youth Institute participants present research papers and interact with World Food Prize Laureates and renowned experts to discuss issues relating to food security throughout the world. 

I have always known I wanted to make a global difference with my career, but I did not know where or how to start,” said 2020 Borlaug-Ruan International Intern Aracely Miron-Ocampo. “After being part of the World Food Prize youth programs throughout high school, I was connected with like-minded students and professionals who had the common goal of tackling prominent world problems. This organization has led me towards a career path where I want to combine agriculture and medicine through global health and nutrition by investigating food security issues and nutritional problems around the world.”

2020 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns

  1. Andrew Berley | North Carolina State University
    Intern at: China Agricultural University in Beijing, China
  2. Allison Chhay | The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Intern at: World Vegetable Center
  3. Intern at: M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India
    Intern at: Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, China
  4. Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman | Iowa State University
    Intern at: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya
  5. Mukund Tarimala | The Ohio State University
    Intern at: International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya
  6. Bethany Starlin | The Ohio State University
    Intern at: M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India
  7. Hannah Schiesl | Iowa State University 
    Intern at: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya
  8. Grace Reiss | Iowa State University  
    Intern at: International Potato Center in Lima, Peru
  9. Amulya Pillutla | Stanford University
    Intern at: World Vegetable Center in Tainan, Taiwan
  10. Sanjana Molleti | University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
    Intern at: International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya
  11. Aracely Miron-Ocampo | The University of Iowa
    Intern at: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya
  12. Michael Laumbach | Rutgers - New Brunswick
    Intern at: M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India
  13. Shantal Hernandez | Brown University 
    Intern at: World Vegetable Center in Tainan, Taiwan
 
ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION:  The Foundation’s mission is to elevate innovations and inspire action to sustainably increase the quality, quantity and availability of food for all. The 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 50 outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. The World Food Prize Foundation annually hosts the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, known informally as the Borlaug Dialogue and a variety of youth education programs to help further the discussion on cutting-edge global food security issues and inspire the next generation to end hunger.
 

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