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Grandstaff To WFP Internship In India

By Staff | Jun 2, 2016


Nick Grandstaff graduated from Emmetsburg High School in May and in just a little over two weeks he will be on his way to India. He has been selected as a Borlaug Ruan-Intern through the World Food Prize Foundation .

“I found out in March, but couldn’t tell anyone then,” said Nick. “I’ll be excited when the day comes.”?He leaves for India June 18.

Nick will be going to the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India.

“I think I’m pretty well prepared,” he said. “Mrs. Reichert, Mrs. Strube and Brian Palmer have all helped me. They were pretty excited, too.”

Mrs. Reichert, science instructor at Emmetsburg High School, has taken students to the World Food Prize Foundation for the past five years.

“Nick will be a wonderful ambassador to be representing us,” Mrs. Reichert said. “Nick is a very warm, caring young man. This will be a life changer for him.”

In the announcement from the World Food Prize Foundation, it stated a record 24 high school students will be going abroad for internships at renowned international research centers and NGOs this summer. The students hail from Iowa and 12 other states and will delve into issues relating to hunger and poverty during eight-week, all-expenses-paid internships in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The program, which was created by Dr. Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr. in 1998, seeks to inspire the next generation of agricultural scientists and to expose them to the wide array of fields related to global food security.

A prerequisite for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship is attending the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which Nick Grandstaff did just before Conference Cross Country.

The Global Youth Institute exposes students to opportunities associated with careers in agricultural, natural resource, life sciences and affiliated fields.

Youth Institute participants present research papers and interact with World Food Prize Laureates and renowned experts to discuss issues relating to food security throughout the world.

Nick Grandstaff wrote his paper his sophomore year in high school and was a finalist. He reapplied this year and got to interview for an intern position.

“Nick presented his paper to Dr. Swaminathan,” said his teacher, Mrs. Reichert, “and, he will be working with Dr. Swaminathan in his research lab.”

The interns are involved in a myriad of global projects dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger such as: fisheries and aquaculture studies; plant biotechnology research; micro-credit and the women’s self-help concept; the influence of education on household food security; livestock value chains; and the calculation of Vitamin C concentration in numerous potato varieties.

At the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Nick says he will be participating in ag research and social research with rural farmers. He is anxious to work with Dr. Swaminathan, who is actively involved in the research.

“We are expected to be able to work under the research director and also to keep ourselves occupied over the weekends,” said Nick.

“In our briefing, they talked about culture shock so I’m kind of prepared for that,” said Nick. “I’m going to be doing a blog and also taking a lot of pictures. I have a flip cam, so I should be pretty well set.”

Nick also learned that he will be staying in an air conditioned guest room while in India. “I?lucked out big time,” he said. “We still have to take precautions like boiling all of the water and things like that.”

“I?am so excited for Nick,” Mrs. Reichert added. “There has been a lot of perseverance on his part. This experience will change his perspective.”

“Emmetsburg High School students have this great opportunity to attend the World Food Prize activities in Des Moines, thanks to Mrs. Reichert,” said Nick’s mother, Barb Grandstaff. “We are so appreciative of her efforts, and lots of others at the school that helped Nick along his path.”

Nick is the son of Barb and Ray Grandstaff of Emmetsburg.

After serving his internship in India, Nick will return to Iowa and complete his AA degree at Iowa Lakes Community College. Currently he is undecided whether he will transfer to the University of Iowa and study economics, or whether he will head to Iowa State University and study ag research, biotechnology. His internship in India may help him make that decision.