Ali Picked for World Food Prize Internship
Congratulations to Nosa Ali of Roosevelt High School/Central Academy on being one of 24 high school students from across the country selected for a prestigious Borlaug-Ruan Internship sponsored by the World Food Prize.
For Nosa, who is completing her junior year, the internship means a summer in Londrina, Brazil where she will be working for two months at the EMBRAPA-Soybean Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.
In addition to her studies, and a strong interest in science, Nosa has been active in a variety of activities both in and out of school. She played the violin, read a poem at the 2010 World Food Prize, and was the student council president in 5th grade. In high school she has been a member of Roosevelt’s top-ranked debate team, the Student Advisory Committee, Student Council, CORE for Advancement, Science Fair Competitions, and Science Bound. Outside of school, she has been active in a philanthropy group called uVoice and the Des Moines Youth Advisory Board. In the Fall of 2014 she was a panelist during a town hall meeting hosted in Des Moines by the National Journal on the nation’s changing demographics.
Nosa and her family have lived in Des Moines for about a dozen years, having fled Sudan in hopes of a better life and to seek political asylum. First going to Egypt, they came to the U.S. early in 2004, thanks to support form Lutheran Services of Iowa, when her father needed surgery. Six months later, Nosa and her brothers and sister enrolled in Des Moines Public Schools.
During her time in Brazil, Nosa will be regularly updating her blog about her work in Brazil. We’ve shared her very first post below, which explains her interests and what led her to pursue this opportunity.
My name is Nosa Ali and I am a junior at Roosevelt High School and Central Academy. The exciting news that I have been waiting to share with all of you is that I have been given the honor of being a 2016 Borlaug-Ruan Intern along with 23 other students from around the nation. I first became involved with the World Food Prize in 10th grade when my older brother Sadiq Ali who was also a George Washington Carver intern introduced me to the program. I have also always been interested in research projects since I was in 7th grade when I spent my summer up at Iowa State working with professor Mike Zeller working on my 8th grade science fair project for Science Bound. Ever since, I have tried to get involved with many research programs.
To participate in the Iowa Youth Institute I signed up for the Extended Learning Independent Research course with Casey Dunley, the Roosevelt High School Gifted and Talented instructor. Through the course I was able to conduct the majority of my research and also complete an MIT online course on poverty and food security. I also spent a lot of time outside of the class to put my work together. The tools I was provided by the course were extremely helpful in guiding my paper. By writing the research paper I qualified for the Iowa Youth Institute where 250 other students from several Iowa high schools also participated. It was held on April 2015. Myself and several other students represented Roosevelt High School. At the IYI I presented my research paper on how improving human right conditions in Burma is key to establishing food security in the region to college professors, scientists, experts, and influential people in the agriculture industry. I was also able to engage in thoughtful conversations with students from all over Iowa on how we could combat food insecurity in the world and most importantly in our own communities.
After attending the IYI with several other Roosevelt students, I was chosen to represent Roosevelt High School at the Global Youth Institute. Nearly 150 students from several states and countries are invited to represent their high school. At GYI I once again presented my country, conflict, and solutions to international experts, scientists, leaders of countries, and people making huge contributions towards ensuring global food security. One of the experts who I met and very much admire was Eric Pohlman from the One Acre Fund who also happens to be the 2015 recipient of the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. His story was very inspiring and encouraged me to find my own passion in the work I do. At GYI I also met several former Borlaug interns and alumni of the World Food Prize youth programs.
As participants of the Global Youth Institute, we were all encouraged to apply for the prestigious Borlaug-Ruan Internship. The BR Internship provides 23 students the opportunity to conduct research at 32 of the top agriculture research centers and institutions around the world in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Middle East. The BR Internship isn’t any typical study abroad program but an immersing experience where students participate in original work with world acclaimed scientists while seeing food security issues firsthand. I am honored to share that I will be traveling to Londrina, Brazil for two months to work at the EMBRAPA-Soybean Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation. I will not only be conducting research but I will also get to experience the amazing culture of Brazil. I’ll be blog often so please subscribe to my blog if you would like to stay updated with my adventures. I’m SO EXCITED to share this experience with everyone! Also, please feel free to leave comments. I’d love to hear from you all and it will make me feel a little less home sick.