HTHS Students––Past and Present––Represent at Global Science Summit

(Secaucus, NJ--November 1, 2021) HTHS alumni Kate Neal (‘21) and Alfonse Sessa III (‘21), along with current senior Roxolana Hreb, presented their research at the 2021 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute which was held virtually this October during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, announced Ms. Kathy Young, Principal of High Tech High School.

The Borlaug Symposium brings together approximately 1,000 individuals from 50 countries to discuss food security and hunger around the globe. Within this year’s week-long international summit was the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute (GYI). GYI attendees, including 263 students from 10 countries, presented evidence-based solutions designed to improve the lives of individuals in locations where food insecurity or hunger are major issues.

Two recent High Tech graduates, Kate Neal and Alphonse Sessa III, represented the state of New Jersey at the summit using research supported by their former teacher Dr. Shelly Witham, who also attended the summit. Kate Neal, who currently attends NJIT, presented her work on Food Security and Government in Zimbabwe, while Alfonse Sessa III, who currently attends Rutgers University, presented his work on Food Security and Malnutrition in Costa Rica. Notably, Kate and Alfonse graduated from High Tech’s Academy of Environmental Science and Sustainability in 2021 as members of a cohort that simultaneously earned an A.S. in Environmental Studies from Hudson County Community College through a dual-enrollment program at HTHS.

Current High Tech senior Roxolana Hreb also represented the state of New Jersey for her work on Food Security and Conflict in Ukraine, research that was supported by her current teacher, Ms. Cathy Yuhas, who attended the virtual summit as well. Roxolana is enrolled in High Tech’s Academy of Environmental Science and Sustainability.

Dr. Witham described all three of the students as “impressive” for their work during the prestigious event. The Borlaug Symposium was created in 1994 by Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and John Ruan, Iowa businessman, to challenge teams of students and teachers to discover ways to alleviate hunger and introduce students to careers in the fields of food, agriculture and natural resources. Students at GYI were also participants in the larger Symposium, which included attending a Virtual Oxfam Hunger Banquet and viewing the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony which honored Dr. Haraksingh Thilsted’s groundbreaking work on nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquatic food systems.

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