Three young Iowa women were honored at the statehouse last night for their research on food security. As high school students, all three participated in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute which awards summer internships at acclaimed agricultural centers around the globe. Eighteen-year-old Addie Hall of Hamburg, Iowa, says she never expected to end up in the Phillippines. “I think my parents, mainly, were concerned about my safety which really wasn’t a problem. It was a very safe environment,” she says. “I hadn’t ever been out of the country before so it was a culture shock, for sure.” Hall says everyone was friendly and she got over her initial reservations and “enjoyed every minute of it.” Hall studied starch mutations in rice plants in hopes of making the crop more tolerant of drought. She says her experience in the Phillippines helped her land a research project at Iowa State University even though she’s only a freshman. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Racheal Collier of Burlington says her summer internship helped her determine her field of study at the University of Iowa. She worked on pest control at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. Collier says the potato tubor moth almost decimates the potato crop worldwide, and she was trying to find other ways to control the pest. Collier is now studying biochemical engineering and she says living in Peru gave her a new appreciation of our access to clean water and how safe it is in Iowa. Seventeen-year-old Megan Srinivas of Fort Dodge also came to appreciate the good life after living eight weeks without electricity or running water in Nairobi, Kenya. Srinivas says the most important thing she learned from the trip was motivation and she now has a desire to go out and solve problems by herself. She studies the link between access to education and hunger while she was in Kenya. She’ll go to college next year, and hopes to study medicine with a focus on AIDS research. All three young women learned about the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute from teachers in their high schools.
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