The Washington Leadership Symposium is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for college students to examine key domestic and global challenges, and explore the exciting opportunities available to impact agriculture, the environment, human health and science through public service.
Over four days, the Wallace-Carver Fellows participate in a series of high-level briefings, tours, group activities, and dinner discussions around Washington DC with key government officials and American thought leaders. During the 2016 Washington Leadership Symposium:
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with the Fellows to discuss strategies to strengthen American agriculture; stimulate the economy; improve human health; and build safer, stronger and more resilient communities through scientific innovation, sound policies, and strong public-private partnerships.
Assistant Secretary of State Charles Rivkin greeted the Fellows to the U.S. Department of State, and Director Eric Luftman and Deputy Director Dr. Marcella Szymanski of the Office of Agriculture Policy briefed the Fellows on biotechnology, international trade and diplomacy in the 21st Century.
Deb Eschmeyer, President Obama’s Senior Advisor for Nutrition Policy and the Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to end childhood obesity, shared her passion for healthy foods, healthy communities and healthy children in a briefing at the White House conference center.
At the USDA headquarters, the Fellows were given an overview of the USDA by Dr. Donald McLellan, Director of the Office of Outreach, Diversity & Equal Opportunity, and Dr. Ann Bartuska, Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, discussed USDA’s programs and research priorities.
William Hohenstein, Director of the USDA Global Climate Change Program, examined the evidence and impact of climate volatility and how USDA is working to educate farmers and innovate American agriculture to be resilient to these emerging threats.
Elizabeth Rahavi, Nutritionist at the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion, explained the history and science of American food and dietary guidelines, and how the government works to promote and ensure the nutritional quality and health of our food options.
Elvis Cordova, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing & Regulatory Programs, gave the Fellows a pep talk on keys to a successful career (and life).
The Fellows traveled to Maryland to tour the Belstsville Agricultural Research Center, the largest agricultural research complex in the world, and met with key research leaders at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Dr. Dariusz Swietlik, ARS Northeast Area Director, welcomed the students to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and gave an overview of the work of the Agricultural Research Service.
Dr. Jay Evans gave the students a tour of the Bee Laboratory and discussed colony collapse, the critical state of bees, and how pollinators impact agriculture and our economy.
Dr. Naomi Fukagawa and Dr. Thomas Wang briefed the Fellows on the work of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, and the students toured the human studies facility.
The Fellows toured the National Agricultural Library with Chris Cole and Jennifer Gilbert.
Executive Director Dr. Ari Novy shared his passion for plants with the Fellows on a private tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden that explored the botanic beauty and economic and scientific value of the plants all around us.
Christie Vilsack, USAID Senior Advisor for International Education shared her powerful personal story and briefed the students on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s work to alleviate poverty by promoting education, ensuring food security, improving nutrition, and reducing child and maternal mortality around the world.
Dina Esposito, Director of USAID’s Food for Peace Program, explained the history of food aid and foreign assistance, and shared new innovations, technologies and products designed to protect populations dislocated from their food supply due to conflict or natural disasters.
"Passion, Politics and the Private Sector's Role in the Fight to End Hunger" was the focus of our dinner discussion with Marshal Matz and Dan Silverstein, two of the leading American thought leaders on food, finance, agriculture and economic development.
"Fighting Hunger in America" was the focus of Ambassador Tony Hall and Max Finberg’s discussion with the Fellows at the Alliance to End Hunger, exploring ways they worked to end domestic hunger as legislators, activists, lobbyists and government officials.
"Regulation, Legislation & Community Action to Ensure Food Safety & Security" was the focus of the dinner discussion with Dr. Patrick Cournoyer (U.S. Food & Drug Administration), Norah Deluhery (USDA Office of Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships) and Devin Mogler (Office of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst).
The Wallace-Carver Fellows participated in a networking reception with young professionals in agriculture hosted by FMC Corporation on the rooftop garden of their office overlooking Washington DC. Linda Froelich (Global Sustainability Director), Shawn Whitman (VP for Government Affairs), Sara Drexler (Sustainability Analyst) and Mike Seyfert (Government Affairs Director), and ten young professionals across FMC's operations networked with the Fellows.
The Fellows explored Washington DC and toured the National Mall and Monuments:
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
World War II Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial
Korean War Memorial
Einstein Memorial at the American Association for the Advancement of Science