In October, a delegation of 18 Minnesota high school students attended the Global Youth Institute, including Ribka Solomon, a junior at Richfield High School.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to share my research about food insecurity and to have heard fellow students share their research and solutions,” said Ribka. “Many students who participated came from different parts of the world and educators from different universities and institutions shared their expertise and gave us feedback, which is helpful in fighting hunger worldwide.”
Before attending the Global Youth Institute, Ribka participated in the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Youth Institute, where she joined other students in researching and implementing possible solutions to address food insecurity. Students presented their findings to different experts at the University of Minnesota and a select few, based on their paper and presentation scores, were selected to represent Minnesota at the Global Youth Institute which is held in conjunction with the World Food Prize (equivalent to the Nobel Prize in Agriculture).
Ribka was one of the Minnesota delegates selected to participate in the Global Youth Institute as a Borlaug Scholar. At the Global Youth Institute, which was held virtually this year, she was able to meet and discuss solutions to hunger issues with global leaders in science, business, philanthropy, policy and more. Only about 200 students from around the world are invited to attend this prestigious event.
“Being a Borlaug Scholar is more than doing research and earning a scholarship,” explained Ribka. “It opens doors to students who are really passionate about addressing food insecurity and helps students and educators network on possible solutions.”
Because of her participation, Ribka received a $1,000 scholarship to the school of Agriculture and Sciences at the University of Minnesota, a scholarship to Iowa State University and she is eligible for a Borlaug-Ruan International Internship.
“After graduation, I plan to attend college and major in Electrical Engineering,” said Ribka. “I have always been fascinated by and eager to learn more about electricity and different device systems. I believe technology plays a significant role in people's lives, and I’m especially interested in exploring wearable technology.”
Currently, her favorite subject is Precalculus. “I like this class because there is a lot of problem solving and critical thinking, which I enjoy a lot,” she explained. Ribka also takes several College in the Schools courses at RHS and attends PSEO classes at Normandale and the University of Minnesota.
In her free time, Ribka is an international humanitarian law advocate with the Red Cross, participates in a mentorship program through MNCPA and is involved in DECA—which she looks forward to competing in this year. She also was on the RHS volleyball and track and field teams.
When she reflects on who inspires her, Ribka identifies her mother. “My Mother has been a strong role model for years. I appreciate the hard work and the dedication she has demonstrated my whole life.”
On a final note, Ribka advises freshmen: “Take your grades as seriously as possible. Whether you take easy classes or you start challenging classes right away, it is difficult to raise your GPA after your freshman year. It takes a lot of effort and dedication, so it is better to start strong.”
Minnesota Youth Institute
The Minnesota Youth Institute (MNYI) engages high school students in solving local and global hunger issues. This interactive, daylong program brings teens from across the state to the University of Minnesota for an immersive science experience while connecting with research and industry leaders. MNYI serves as a gateway to the World Food Prize Symposium and global travel, paid internships and a scholarship to the University. If you are a student and you are interested in participating next year, applications are due by April 12, 2021.
Global Youth Institute
Each year, over 200 exceptional high school students from around the world are selected to participate in the three-day Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation.
Selected students and their teachers/mentors interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with international experts.
During the conference, student delegates present and discuss their findings with international experts and their peers, connect with other students from around the world, tour cutting-edge industrial and research facilities, and take part in symposium discussions with global leaders in science, industry, and policy.