(Secaucus, NJ––May 27, 2020) Seven students from High Tech’s Academy of Environmental Science and Sustainability presented their research on global food security at the New Jersey Youth Institute World Food Prize at Rutgers-New Brunswick in March, announced Dr. Joseph A. Giammarella, Principal at High Tech High School.
The seven students––seniors Kennedy Christiana, Elena Gurczeski, Rachel Stern, Jessica Tanuos, and Ashley White, along with junior Alfonse Sessa and sophomore Sofia Idrissi––initially undertook research projects seeking solutions to food insecurity where it is needed. With the goal of establishing research-supported methods to achieving food security in a specific nation, these students brought their findings to their peers, local leaders, and scholars at the New Jersey Youth Initiative World Food Prize.
The event, hosted at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, is for high school students to learn about critical global issues, engage in hands-on-activities, and explore exciting ways to become effective change agents in their own communities. As participants, students earned the recognition of Borlaug Scholar, named for the American agronomist Norman Borlaug whose agricultural work led to sustainable food supplies around the globe. As Borlaug Scholars, these students qualify for internships and other opportunities. Additionally, selected students who presented at the New Jersey Youth Institute will be invited to the Global Youth Institute, where they will study a pressing global food issue with peers, and then present this work to global leaders in the field. Selections are expected to be made in the summer of 2020.
Dr. Shelly Witham, Environmental Science instructor at HTHS, organized the event and highlighted the value of this work by her students and the larger community, saying: “Food insecurity is a global problem and we need bright, driven students to interact with global leaders working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world. I’m immensely proud of the dedication demonstrated by each student as they tackled the problem in their own research.”
Prior to attending the prestigious event, Dr. Witham, chaperone and HTHS instructor Ms. Cathy Yuhas, and the seven presenters, spent the morning preparing bags of donated food to distribute to local school-aged children from the community.