High-school students from across the State of Minnesota were invited to submit a paper and participate in the Minnesota Youth Institute May 18, 2020, for a virtual educational program hosted by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and World Food Prize Foundation.

Students from Redwood Valley High School were among the 55 students to participate in the virtual event.

The following students engaged with leaders in science, policy and industry to discuss the world’s most pressing challenges in hunger and poverty: Kate Ahrens, Jack Frank, Ella Fuhr, Victoria Jorgenson and Jenny Vang.

In order to participate in the program, students research and write a paper on a global challenge affecting food security. They provide recommendations on how to solve the problem and better the lives of a typical family in another country.

Students are then invited to attend a day-long event (typically held on campus, but held virtually this year) and engage in hands-on science immersions.

They present solutions in roundtables, allowing them to reflect on their unique role in addressing challenges related to agriculture, policy, science, industry and hunger relief efforts in the United States and abroad.

The Minnesota Youth Institute is a program of the World Food Prize. The World Food Prize was created in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman Borlaug, the University of Minnesota alum credited with saving more than one billion lives.

It is the foremost international award recognizing individuals whose achievements have advanced human development by increasing the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

For their participation, the students are recognized as Borlaug scholars and are now eligible for special scholarships, internships and other professional opportunities, including paid Wallace-Carver Fellowships at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A select few also will advance to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which is a gathering of more than 1,000 world leaders working to advance food security, agriculture and human development.

The Global Youth Institute was developed to challenge and inspire participating students and teachers to identify innovative strategies to alleviate hunger and to expose students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines.

Of the students who complete the Global Youth Institute, about 92 percent go on to pursue college degrees in agriculture and science, and 77 percent choose careers in agriculture, STEM and other fields critical to the fight against hunger.

The Institute also boasts an impressive two-thirds participation by young women.

Dr. Borlaug often stated, “I am certain that these students will become the future agricultural, scientific and humanitarian leaders in the fight to end hunger.”

High-school educators and students interested in participating in the 2021 Minnesota Youth Institute are encouraged to visit mnyi.cfans.umn.edu.

The University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences brings science-driven innovators together to discover hands-on solutions to global challenges.

With research and outreach centers across Minnesota, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Bell Museum of Natural History, CFANS offers unparalleled experiential learning opportunities for students and the community.

Learn more online at cfans.umn.edu.

- Image courtesy of the Internet Public Domain