High school students earn scholarships through Florida Youth Institute

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Seven high school juniors and seniors earned scholarships to the University of Florida/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) through participating in the Florida Youth Institute.

Students leaning against the right side of a wooden bridge, looking down at a gator basking in shallow water and vegetation.
Participants find a gator at the La Chua hiking trail

Based on their outstanding engagement and participation in the week-long program, the following students were offered a scholarship to attend CALS:

  • Isabella Farhat, Bishop Kenny High School, Jacksonville
  • Emilia Fiebel, Sheridan Technical High School, Hollywood
  • Alani Haile, Atlantic High School, Port Orange
  • Carly Legler, Williston High School, Williston
  • Isabella Minderman, Merritt Island High School, Merritt Island
  • Adam Hughes Putnam, Houston High School, Germantown, Tenn.
  • Hunter Taylor, Eustis High School, Eustis

“We know that many high school students are not familiar with the broad range of majors offered in CALS, so through FYI, they see science in action while also learning how to be agents for positive change in their local communities,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “These scholarships are given to students who stood out during the week for their curiosity and meaningful interactions with peers, speakers and program staff.”

Image of the scholarship winners for week two of the Florida Youth Institute
Week 2 scholarship winners, L to R: Emilia Fiebel, Hunter Taylor, Isabella Farhat with Dean Elaine Turner

The Florida Youth Institute is a residential summer program that introduces students to college majors and career opportunities pertaining to agriculture, natural resources and the environment, while exploring global food security. The students also prepare an essay before arriving to the program in which they research a country, an issue the country faces related to food security and proposed solutions to address the issue.

“I went into this program thinking that everybody was going to impress me. We met tons of experts and tons of farmers, but when actually meeting these people, they more than exceeded my expectations,” said Farhat, a rising senior. “This week has probably been the best week of my life, by far. I’ve learned so much and met some amazing people.”

Throughout the week, the Florida Youth Institute participants explored several UF/IFAS departments, including animal sciences, food science and human nutrition, and entomology and nematology; spoke with local agricultural organizations like the Florida Farm Bureau Federation and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences Division of Plant Industry; and presented their essays to experts in agriculture and related sciences.

“I think we had a lot of opportunities to learn from people in the industry, and that’s what kept me so engaged,” said Fiebel, a rising senior. “We’re just teenagers, and we still have so much to learn because we are so young. This week I was just able to learn so much more than I thought I would.”

The Florida Youth Institute is a program developed in partnership with the World Food Prize Foundation and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. The college has received more total (national and regional combined) USDA teaching awards than any other institution.

cals.ufl.edu  |  @UFCALS


caroline nickerson profileAvatar photo
Posted: August 3, 2022

Category: UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Florida Youth Institute, Food Insecurity, World Food Prize

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