High school students selected to attend national conference through Florida Youth Institute

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Twenty high school students were selected to represent Florida for the Global Youth Institute this October, following their participation in the Florida Youth Institute and research on a key issue facing a foreign country.

The Florida Youth Institute is a week-long residential program offered twice in July, hosted by the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in partnership with the World Food Prize Foundation and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The program focuses on global food security, while giving participants opportunities to explore college majors and possible careers in agriculture, natural resources, the environment and related life sciences.

Image of students selected to attend the Global Youth Institute

“We started this program six years ago,” said Charlotte Emerson, coordinator of the Florida Youth Institute and director of student development and recruitment for the college. “It was a way for us to expose high school students to their role in global food security, give them a pathway to learn about our college’s majors and discover how each student can make a local impact to improve the lives of those around them.”

After being accepted into the Florida Youth Institute, each participant was required to select a country, research an issue in that country related to food insecurity and suggest solutions for the issue. Participants submitted an essay and then presented their work to a panel of experts representing different areas in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.

“My paper topic was about education, so it took a holistic approach to food insecurity in Uganda,” said Riley Morauski, a student participant from Fort Myers, Florida. “Through my research, I found that a wider view of food insecurity and its place in society can help solve the problem.”

Based on their presentations, the following students were selected to be part of the Florida delegation at the 2022 Global Youth Institute, on online event hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation in conjunction with the 2022 Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue:

  • Madison Adkins, Lincoln Park Academy,
  • Adrianna Ballate, Miami Lakes Education Center, Miami
  • Amelia De La Torre, Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory School, Hollywood
  • Isabella Farhat, Bishop Kenny High School, Jacksonville
  • Emilia Fiebel, Sheridan Technical High School, Hollywood
  • Hailey Garcia, Palm Beach Central High School, Wellington
  • Alani Haile, Atlantic High School, Port Orange
  • Carly Legler, Williston High School, Williston
  • Isabella Minderman, Merritt Island High School, Merritt Island
  • Riley Morauski, Cypress Lake High School, Fort Myers
  • Lena Morefield, Nazareth Area High School, Nazareth, Penn.
  • Ella Pilacek, Oveido High School, Oveido
  • Adam Hughes Putnam, Houston High School, Germantown, Tenn.
  • Cade Randolph, Cardinal Newman High School, West Palm Beach
  • Joshua Siu, Montville Township High School, Montville, N.J.
  • Zaynaa Syed, Universal Academy of Florida, Tampa
  • Hunter Taylor, Eustis High School, Eustis
  • Ryan Wilkerson, Paxon High School, Jacksonville
  • Taylor Worbington, Creekside High School, St. Johns
  • Madeline Yee, Pine View School, Osprey

Each student will have the option to revise their paper based on feedback from the experts and then send their essay to the World Food Prize Foundation.

Beyond their research, students also explored several UF/IFAS departments, such as animal sciences, entomology and nematology, and food science and human nutrition, gaining a better understanding for the role each area plays in the food system.

Student at the Department of Entomology and Nematology

“The entomology and nematology department was extraordinary and eye-opening,” said Joshua Siu, a participant from Montville, New Jersey. “It helped increase my appreciation for the role that bugs play in our ecosystem and solving food insecurity.”

At the conclusion of the Florida Youth Institute, each student was recognized by the World Food Prize Foundation as a Borlaug Scholar, honoring the legacy of Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner and agronomist who led several advancements in agricultural production. As a Borlaug Scholar, participants are eligible for select scholarships and internships through the World Food Prize Foundation.


The 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 4, 2022

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

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