Youth on a mission to fight hunger, malnutrition and poverty
Committed to improving food and nutrition security, Kayla Zhu and Alyssa Swehla, were selected by the World Food Prize Foundation for the Borlaug-Ruan International internship. They have spent the last two months at ICRISAT and the World Vegetable Center in India working within research teams to gain firsthand experience of how science can change lives.
“I am inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals. As young people it is our responsibility to get involved in the issues we care about.”
Kayla Zhu, 17 years, Grade 12, North Farmington High School, Michigan, USA
Internee at Markets, Institutions, Nutrition and Diversity (MIND) theme, ICRISAT
During my internship at ICRISAT, I have been working on a project to understand the dietary diversity of the tribal populations in the tribal district of Adilabad in Telangana state, with the aim of improving nutrition among vulnerable groups. I am interested in social sciences, political sciences and economics. And food security is an interdisciplinary science. Being at ICRISAT has helped me to see how science can impact people’s lives.
In the summer before Grade 11, I did my internship at the United Nations. I was able to observe the process of implementing the SDGs. It was more at the administrative level but that prompted an interest to work on the field and get to know the people they are going to impact. I want to study political science after high school as I want to help drive global development.
“Agriculture is not restricted to one generation; the future generations need to know how to deal with the issues that arise and use new technologies that are available”
Alyssa Swehla, 18 years, Iowa State University, USA
Internee at World Vegetable Center
I am working on a research project at the World Vegetable Center to find an effective biological control agent against dry root rot in mung bean, as chemical fungicides cause environmental and human health risks. Mung bean is an important staple crop in India in terms of nutrition and monetary value. Dry root rot had severely impacted the production of mung bean in India so this is a critical project.
I was able to get the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship after applying for it the second time. While in Grade 10 at Sumner Fredericksburg High School, Sumner, Iowa, USA, my teacher had informed me of the opportunity and helped me prepare a 10-page write-up on Education in Kenya. I am currently doing a double major in Agronomy and Global Resource Systems at the Iowa State University so I can continue to work on food and nutrition systems. Agriculture is not restricted to one generation; the future generations need to know how to deal with the issues that arise and use new technologies that are available.
Cairo Archer, a Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Institute (TCI) Intern shares her opinions on importance of youth in agriculture.