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Ankeny Students Invited to Youth Institute

Ankeny Students outside Hilton Coliseum
ANKENY, Iowa (May 2, 2018) - Thirty students from Ankeny Schools were among more than 300 to attend the seventh annual World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute at Iowa State University. Representatives from 135 schools, including Northview and Southview Middle Schools and Ankeny Centennial and Ankeny High Schools, explored critical global food security issues and discovered academic and career paths in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math).

Each student attending had written a research paper on a key issue; such as environmental volatility, soil degradation, nutrition, water scarcity or gender inequality, impacting hunger in a developing country. During the Youth Institute, the students proposed their solutions in small-group roundtable discussions facilitated by academic and industry experts. Students also engaged in interactive immersion sessions, covering topics like plant genetics, human nutrition, food insecurity in Iowa, sustainability, and the environment.

Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Governor Adam Gregg, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting Chief Scientist & REE Deputy Under Secretary of USDA, world-renowned faculty experts and business leaders interacted with students during the event.
"I commend you for being here, for embracing the desire to improve the global food supply, and for wanting to take action on behalf of people you might never know," said Dr. Jacobs-Young during her keynote presentation. "You, as a generation, are important to the USDA because you will be the consumers, the employees, and the leaders of our future. Your efforts can make the difference."


The World Food Prize Youth Programs were started by Norman Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. to inspire the next generation to become involved in our food system.  Other World Food Prize youth programs also include the Global Youth Institute, the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship and the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship.


Ankeny Students in attendance:


Raina Paeper
Kathryn Vortherms
Morgan Severseike
Natalie Long
Kiran Bhat
Amanda Bendezu
Jordan Su
Volta Adovor
Alison Lundberg
Gracie Valerio-Garsow
Lauren Playle
Sophia Patron

Grace Meador
Natalia Portal-Figueroa
Zeynep Oghan

Allison Su



Lucy Brooner
Samantha Dean
Savannah Edwards
Kamaura Kim
Sophia Parker
Jocelyn Pocernich
Kaitlyn Richards



Christopher Martin

Grace Meter

Jessica Wyman



Madi Peterson

Megan Dao

Sharon Mamuya

Alex Oglesby