The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

My Thoughts About the Experiences I Had Interning at the World Food Prize

By Samantha Westphal
George Washington Carver Planning Intern

Growing up in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines, I remember driving by and admiring the beautiful World Food Prize (WFP) Hall of Laureates – I even took my senior pictures in the garden. However, it wasn’t until the summer after I graduated from the University of Iowa that I was aware that the WFP Foundation had an internship program.

During that summer, I was wondering what I was going to do in the limbo between my college graduation and the start of my Fulbright grant in Argentina. I came across a friend’s Facebook post encouraging others to apply to the WFP fall internship program. In addition to my interest in working at a nonprofit, I knew that I wanted to maintain a connection to the international community while I was back at home. The WFP seemed like a perfect way to do so as they typically host guests from over 50 different countries, and so I decided to apply.  

Fast forward to a few months later, I am now interning with the Director of Planning, Morgan Day. Throughout this internship, I have helped with the planning of the Borlaug Dialogue, compiled the briefs for Ambassador Quinn, and ensured that the events ran smoothly. I also have been able to interact with incredibly interesting people – from foreign dignitaries, CEOs, to university leaders conducting important research on food systems.

The highlight of my internship was helping out at the Borlaug Dialogue. I absolutely loved listening to experts in their field share about how they are working to end hunger at home and abroad. Even though my grandpa is a farmer and my dad works at an agriculture corporation, I never fully realized how much of an impact agriculture has on society and on health. I am thankful that I was able to learn so much about the science and business of the agriculture industry because I will take this knowledge and apply it to my future career as a public or global health practitioner. We all need to eat well to live well, and to live well we need farmers to grow nutritious food.

Besides the valuable knowledge I have acquired, I have also learned more about how foundations and nonprofits function. As an intern, I appreciate that my voice matters to the WFP staff. At a recent debrief meeting, every intern was encouraged to share some feedback on how to make the Borlaug Dialogue and Symposium even better next year. I felt empowered to share my thoughts on how to make the events more sustainable and eco-friendly next year and I am honored that I can potentially leave my mark even after my internship ends. Interns are trusted and given plenty of responsibility which is so important for personal and professional growth.  In fact, I would encourage everyone to apply to the internship program, because anyone could find a place here – whether that be in planning, graphic design, or just wanting to learn about and network in the nonprofit world. The World Food Prize Family, as we call ourselves, is a supportive group!

02/05/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment
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