Six MHS Students participate in virtual World Food Prize event, earn ISU scholarships

Muscatine High School. Photo by Jim Elias

The World Food Prize Foundation hosted in part with Iowa State University its 9th annual Iowa Youth Institute (IYI), featuring the participation of 264 students and 110 teachers from 93 Iowa high schools. This virtual, day-long event was the first of its kind for the IYI supported by over 90 experts from across Iowa.

Muscatine High School had six students participating by both writing a three-five page research paper related to food insecurities as well as presenting their findings to an expert panel of business, industry, Iowa State University Faculty and a peer group of seven to eight other students from across Iowa.

Once finished with their presentations, students were then asked questions from their peer group, Iowa State University Faculty, business, and industry individuals. The expert panels are made up of individuals such as the former president of DuPont Pioneer, Paul Schickler, and Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Associate Dean, David Acker. Students participating from Muscatine High school included Vayda Bryant (9th), Alexander Pautz (9th), Belinda Brain (10th) Dailyn Garrett (11th), Whitney Winter (12th), and Alli Youngbauer (12th).

The students submitted their papers and were accepted to take part in the Virtual Institute. All six presented and answered questions about their research. They also each received $500 scholarships to the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The students are both Agriculture Education Students and FFA Members at Muscatine High School and involved in many activities. The students have a chance, if interested in participating in the Global Youth Institute, held in Des Moines as part of the World Food Prize Events with additional scholarship money awarded at that time of an additional $1,500.

Each year, the World Food Prize Youth Institutes convene high school students, teachers, and experts to explore and solve local, national, and global hunger and food security issues. To be a part of the Iowa Youth Institute, students research and write a paper on a worldwide challenge related to hunger and food insecurity. Currently, 25 states, the Netherlands and Honduras host Youth Institutes, where students can be selected to serve as delegates at the Global Youth Institute as part of October’s Borlaug International Dialogue. The top Iowa participants will also be selected to join scientists and policy experts from around the world at the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in October.

As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation shifted to a virtual platform, to make the institutes more accessible online. The Foundation is committed to continuing to offer its educational programs to more than 10,000 students this year.

Thousands of students have taken part in the Iowa Youth Institute since its start in 2011, and over 2,000 Iowa high school students have participated.

“The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute did not disappoint this year,” said Joshua Day, Agriculture Education Instructor and FFA Advisor at Muscatine School. “Even though we could not meet together physically, the organization and communication by leaders made it accessible and valuable for all involved. Students learned from each other and experts in global food security, they were given choices for virtual immersion experiences, and there were inspiring speeches from keynote speakers. I also appreciate the opportunities to learn and interact as a teacher. Even amid challenges of a new format, this was a valuable experience for all involved.”

The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. The Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.

This one-day event is offered at no cost to teachers or students. More details are available at www.worldfoodprize.org/iowayouth .