Tricounty News

Six Minnesota students advance to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

Eden Valley-Watkins High School student Anne Benson is one of the Minnesota high school students selected to participate in the Global Youth Institute, part of the annual World Food Prize events from Oct. 17 to 19 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Anne Benson, a junior in school at EV-W High School, daughter of Pat Benson of Eden Valley, was chosen from a field of 12 Minnesota high school students who participated in the Minnesota Youth Institute on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus Saturday, Sept. 21. During the institute, students discussed their solutions for global problems ranging from water scarcity to malnutrition. The teacher coaching Ann through the process is Tracy Huhn, EV-W FFA advisor, who will also attend.

The Minnesota Youth Institute is administered by the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and is a division of the World Food Prize Foundation’s Global Youth Institute program.

Minnesota students advanced to the Global Youth Institute based on ranked scoring of a five-page research paper, an in-person interview, a paper presentation and transcript review. Dozens of U of M alumni, industry experts and faculty members comprised the student review panel.

By participating in the Global Youth Institute, students are eligible to apply for a prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, an all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Since 1998, more than 200 students have participated.

The six students who will represent Minnesota at the Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation are: Brandon Duffy, Lino Lakes; Jerome Jacobsen, Mahtomedi; Jessica Prigge, Lakeville; Alexandra Saueressig, Center City, and siblings Gillian and Stuart Wilkins of St. Paul. Anne Benson of Eden Valley was selected as an alternate. The Minnesota students will join more than 300 students from around the country to interact with experts, participate in hunger relief programs and activities, and present their research findings to peers and global leaders.

High school students interested in participating in the 2014 Minnesota Youth Institute to be held on April 12, 2014, at the University of Minnesota should go to to, for information on how to register for an upcoming Minnesota Youth Institute.

For more information on the essay and how to participate in the Minnesota Youth Institute, contact program coordinator, Kay Ellingson, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or at

The World Food Prize, conceived by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize and three-time University of Minnesota graduate, has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world since 1986.