The Pennsylvania Youth Institute, first offered in 2017, engages high school students in global thinking to address food insecurity. Aligned with the mission of the PSEAS program, the institute showcases student research related to factors impacting and solutions for food insecurity.

2019 Borlaug Scholars

2019 Borlaug Scholars

Program Dates

Information Sessions and Web-based one on one office hours:  April 2020, May 2020, June 2, 3, 4, 2020 (times and links TBA)

Deadline for Registration and Paper Submission: June 15, 2020

PA Youth Institute Day: July 10, 2020  Registration at 8:30 a.m. Program 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information TBA

Teachers are invited to attend and participate in the PA Youth Institute, more information to come!

Students choose a country that is not their own, learn about the country, people, and a factor related to food insecurity in that country. Papers are due June 15, 2020. Information sessions are offered by the PYI prior to the deadline to help enhance the paper. The Institute will be on July 10, 2020, the registered participants present their papers at the PYI. One in ten participants will be selected to represent the PYI at the Global Youth Institute. All who complete the process become Borlaug Scholars, with the guaranteed Wallace Carver Internship with the USDA when in college, if they choose to participate.

Students choose one country which is not their own and a selected issue or factor affecting food security in that country. Learning and reporting on a typical farm or urban area, what a typical family might look like and barriers facing that typical family, the student can begin to think of recommendations on how to address the selected factor.  A realistic solution helping the typical family.  Below is a list of key factors, though sometimes factors overlap, it is important that the student focuses on one main factor for their research. 

Key Factors affecting Food Security

  1. Plant Science Increasing crop yields and improving disease/drought resistance through research and breeding of improved plant varieties

  2. Water Scarcity Managing water scarcity and adapting farming practices to reduced water supplies with improved irrigation technologies and conservation practices

  3. Biofuels Balancing the demand on global food and energy supplies and ensuring that developing nations also benefit from the use of biofuel

  4. Animal Health Preventing the transmission of disease in livestock and poultry with improved management, investments in vaccine development, and proper application of medications to avoid antibiotic‐resistance

  5. Climate Volatility Responding to climate volatility by adapting agricultural practices and policies to increase carbon sequestration and support ecological resilience to erratic weather, rising temperatures/drought, saltwater intrusion, and shifting plant diseases and pest infestations

  6. Sustainable Agriculture Developing and implementing sustainable agricultural practices (no‐till, crop rotation, integrated pest management, etc.) to combat erosion, desertification and soil depletion and reduce pesticide/herbicide use and minimizing environmental degradation associated with industrial agricultural practices (improved animal waste disposal, conservation buffers, etc.)

  7. Animal Agriculture Implementing sustainable practices for raising livestock and poultry (management intensive grazing, integrated livestock/poultry grazing and poultry/vegetable production systems, fish pond farming systems, etc.)

  8. Spoilage & Waste Reducing spoilage and improving the quality and shelf life of food products with improved food preservation techniques and increased processing capacity (flash‐heating, aseptic processing, freeze drying, bulk storage, etc.

  9. Water & Sanitation Increasing access to safe, potable water supplies, toilets and pit latrines, and education on proper sanitation/hygiene and food preparation techniques to reduce the transmission of food and water‐borne disease

  10. Dietary Diseases Addressing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other dietary diseases through nutrition education, access to nutritious foods, and healthy behavior (dietary diversification, food selection, portion‐size control, exercise, etc.)

  11. Malnutrition Alleviating micro-nutrient deficiencies (iron, vitamin A, iodine, zinc) and protein‐ energy malnutrition through improved access to nutritious food, fortification, supplementation, school‐feeding programs, nutrition education, emergency therapeutic feeding, etc.

  12. Human Diseases Reducing the burden of illness and infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria, etc., to improve human health and nutrition and raise agricultural production

  13. Demographics Addressing the challenges and opportunities posed by population growth and urbanization

  14. Conflict Resolution Preventing and resolving political and armed conflict with diplomatic initiatives

  15. Human Rights Addressing gender, cultural and economic discrimination and improving access to credit and securing property rights for the poor and marginalized

  16. Education Investing in education, training and extension for improved implementation of agricultural research and technology

  17. Good Governance Reducing corruption by promoting the rule of law, government accountability, democratic principles and transparency

  18. International Trade Removing discriminatory international trade policies to improve market access, promote fair trade and increase economic development

  19. Foreign Aid Assisting vulnerable populations and improving the effectiveness of humanitarian relief and food aid in conflict zones and disaster sites

  20. Farm to Market Improving access to markets through infrastructure development (roads and railways, internet, mobile technologies, electricity)