The World Food Prize Foundation

2013 Szymoniak Award Winner

Elizabeth Mueller of Waukee, Iowa, was awarded the Elaine Szymoniak Award during the World Food Prize Laureate Ceremony on October 19, 2013 at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

She received the Elaine Szymoniak Award for her outstanding work as a 2012 World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan International Intern.

Elizabeth completed her internship at EARTH University (Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda) in Guácimo, Costa Rica where she explored the effectiveness of biodigestors to convert organic waste into a renewable source of electrical and heat energy and nutrient rich fertilizers.  Specifically, her independent research evaluated biodigestor technology’s impact on rural women and sustainability in the community of La Florita, Limón, Costa Rica.

Elizabeth, a graduate of Waukee High School, is now studying Microbiology and Global Health at the University of Iowa.  

The Elaine Szymoniak Intern Award was created in 2010 and is named in honor of the Iowa State Senator, Des Moines City Council Member and hearing and speech specialist known for her dedicated public service and great efforts to save the World Food Prize. This award is presented annually to a Borlaug-Ruan International Intern whose fulfillment of his or her research program at an international research center best exemplifies Senator Szymoniak's commitment to meet the needs of the community and dedicated efforts to promote education, health, economic development, equality and justice.

Elizabeth was selected as a Borlaug-Ruan International Intern after participating in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in 2010. The Global Youth Institute provides high school students the opportunity to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates, connect with other student leaders from around the world, tour cutting-edge industrial and research facilities, and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with global leaders in science, industry and policy. 

Elizabeth received her award prior to the awarding of the 2013 World Food Prize to three distinguished scientists  — Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, and Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States.


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