Iowa high school students can become Borlaug Scholars

Iowa high school students can become Borlaug Scholars

High school students statewide are invited to attend Iowa Youth Institute April 27 at ISU in Ames.

Learn. Earn scholarships. Explore STEM career paths. The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute is inviting students from every high school in Iowa to participate in its day-long program at Iowa State University on April 27.

This unique experience aims to inspire the next generation of young leaders and offers students an unparalleled opportunity to solve the greatest challenges in the world today, while exploring academic and career paths in fields related to STEM, food, agriculture and global development.

A CALL FOR STUDENTS: Choose a country and a topic related to world hunger, food or agriculture, write a 4 to 5-page paper explaining your solutions, and earn a scholarship to ISU. At the Iowa Youth Institute on Apr. 27, high school students can learn and explore exciting career paths.

Iowa high school students invited to attend Iowa Youth Institute
To participate in this annual event, students select a challenge facing a particular country, and write a three- to five-page paper explaining the issue and outlining potential solutions. Deadline to submit your paper is March 27.

At the event on April 27 at ISU, the participating Iowa high school students will present their ideas in small groups with peers; participate in interactive activities in labs and classrooms on campus; interact with innovative professors and business leaders from across the state; and hear from high-level experts.

All participants earn a $500 scholarship to Iowa State University's College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. The top students will also be selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, a three-day event held each October during the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines. These students will be eligible for future opportunities to apply for international internships.

Earn a $500 scholarship to ISU by participating in this event
The Iowa Youth Institute currently has participation from half of the high schools in the state and aims to reach every school in Iowa to meaningfully engage students interested in these subjects. The youth institute is offered at no cost to teachers or students. More details, instructions, and testimonials from past participants are available at

Questions may be directed to Jacob Hunter, director of the Iowa Youth Institute, at [email protected] or 515-245-3727.




Editor's Note: Gehrke is a graduate of Waukee High School and currently a sophomore at Iowa State University.

Norman Borlaug is a name you may know and celebrate, or it may bring up a blank in your mind. Strangely enough, this incredible Iowan is known better internationally than he is stateside. A boy from small-town Iowa who grew up going to school in a one-room schoolhouse, Norman Borlaug became the Father of the Green Revolution and is credited for saving over one billion lives. Following his passion for agriculture and science, this one Iowa kid did what everyone aspires to do: change the world.

As we face the numerous problems within our global society, ranging from ISIS to Ebola, young people, the ones we often protect from the glare of these hardships, are exactly whom we should be educating. The future of this world lies in the hands of the millennials, the kids who still need a ride to and from soccer practice.

This said, many teenagers are completely unaware of the world outside of the United States, much less Iowa. A question that has become critical in solving the world's problems is how we can encourage and inspire the young people of today to care about the future of tomorrow.

Engaging young people in issues of concern to humanity
Encouraging the young people you know to participate in the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute is one of the best ways you can engage them in issues of concern to humanity. Not only will this enhance their educational and career paths, but these events will provide them with a new perspective on global affairs.

The World Food Prize, an international nonprofit organization based in Des Moines, was designed to recognize innovators who have increased the quality, quantity or availability of food. In 1994, the World Food Prize took on the role of encouraging and educating youth to care about these global issues. This year, on April 27th, 2015, the Iowa Youth Institute will be held on Iowa State University's campus, and doors will open for hundreds of participating Iowa students that day.


To participate in the Iowa Youth Institute, students in 8th to 12th grades select a country of their choice and a problem that country is facing and write a short paper proposing their solutions.

Connect with other students, share ideas, and identify solutions
Students will then attend the Iowa Youth Institute, where they will be given the opportunity to present their recommendations on how to solve key global challenges in small-group discussions with experts in the field; connect with other students from across Iowa to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships; interact with global leaders in science, industry and policy; take part in educational sessions and interactive tours at Iowa State University to explore current research, issues and careers in international development and life sciences; meet innovative researchers, professors and college students in Iowa working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world; and earn scholarships to ISU.

I can speak from experience that the Iowa Youth Institute can change a student's life. Because it changed mine. In high school I dreamed of being a marine biologist. After participating in the Iowa Youth Institute, I found a career path that fit my love of science and helping others: I now attend Iowa State University as a Global Resource Systems major with a focus in biology. With the skills and connections I gained from the World Food Prize, I was able to travel to India. While in India, I worked as a service learner in the areas of food, nutrition and health.

Next Norman Borlaug is a young person who will change the world
Additionally, I am on a team of students that was just selected to attend the "Thought for Food" conference in Portugal to share our idea of a solar food dehydrator to a panel of judges to start our own business and help alleviate hunger in remote areas. I hope to continue this work, and work in the medical field in the future.

Impacting the world in a positive way is as easy as starting conversations with our youth. The next Norman Borlaug is among us and we must provide the opportunities for that young person to change the world.

Ella Gehrke is a graduate of Waukee High School and currently a sophomore at Iowa State University.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.