Ag Sciences students to represent Penn State at World Food Prize Symposium

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five students enrolled in College of Agricultural Sciences programs will represent Penn State at the 2017 Borlaug Dialogue, one of the events planned during the annual World Food Prize International Symposium, Oct. 18-20 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The World Food Prize is the foremost international honor recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The conference, which draws more than 1,000 participants from 65 countries, features an array of international leaders, farmers, agribusiness executives, nongovernmental organizations and development experts to address the most critical issues affecting global food security.

Students in the International Agriculture minor or in the International Agriculture and Development dual-title graduate degree program were invited to apply for scholarships to attend. The recipients are high-achieving students who have shown a commitment to international agriculture and food security, according to Melanie Miller-Foster, assistant professor of international agriculture, Office of International Programs.

"The Borlaug Dialogue is a wonderful opportunity for our students to meet with leaders in food security from around the world," she said. "It allows them to investigate different types of careers in their interest area and to see how agriculture plays a prominent role in global food security."

Following are this year's Penn State representatives:

Haley Stauffer is a junior majoring in biorenewable systems and double minoring in international agriculture and Spanish. This summer, she spent a month at Earth University in Costa Rica as an organic-agriculture intern, and she continues to explore her interests in sustainable agriculture as an undergraduate research assistant focusing on soil ecology. By attending the World Food Prize events, Stauffer hopes to enhance her understanding of global food security and to identify specific areas in which to apply her knowledge and skills.

Maddy Nyblade, a senior majoring in geosciences and minoring in international agriculture, hopes her attendance at the World Food Prize events will help her identify potential career paths, develop strategies for conducting meaningful and impactful research, and learn skills for communicating between locals and experts. Nyblade has extensive international experience, including study-abroad experiences in Ireland, Tanzania and Belize. She currently is working on her undergraduate thesis, for which she is building a model that simulates the food-water-economic system in Punjab, India.

Emily Seiger is a senior majoring in community, environment, and development and double minoring in international agriculture and nutrition. She recently returned from fieldwork in Bangladesh, supported by the Office of International Programs, where she collected data on food hygiene practices among women whose children have been part of an ongoing study on malnutrition and enteric disease. Seiger's interest in international agriculture has grown over the course of her undergraduate career — she has served in leadership roles in the International Justice Mission, Penn State Chapter, and in Penn State Global Brigades. By attending World Food Prize events, she hopes to gain insight into agricultural production and distribution to supplement her knowledge of nutrition.

Ilse Huerta is a second-year doctoral student in agricultural and extension education and in international agriculture and development. Her research focuses on agricultural awareness through nonformal education for local and international communities to promote supportive agricultural policymaking, especially in Mexico. She said participation in the World Food Prize would allow her to enhance her knowledge of agricultural current events from around the world.

Celize Christy is a second-year master's degree student in rural sociology and in international agriculture and development. Her research examines indigenous knowledge related to the management of poultry diseases in Rwanda. Her goal in attending the World Food Prize is to create networks with and among leaders, researchers and innovators involved in international projects and initiatives.

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Last Updated October 11, 2017