Feed the world

31 May

KI0A4532

Hunger is an increasingly serious issue in America. Even in Iowa – a state with some of the richest, most productive farmland in the world – one out of every six people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Catherine Swoboda (’08 agronomy, MS ’10 crop production & physiology) works to raise awareness about hunger issues through her position as director of Iowa and Midwest education programs for The World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines. She designs educational programs for high school students and teachers to expose them to issues of global agriculture and hunger.

“Everyone is subject to food insecurity,” Catherine says. “We’re all fragile and vulnerable.”

Catherine got her start with the World Food Prize in high school when she participated in the World Food Prize Institute and met its founder, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug.

“I was captivated by the idea that science could make a real difference in people’s lives,” she said.

She was a Borlaug-Ruan International Intern in Brazil between high school and her freshman year at Iowa State – an experience she calls “life-changing.” As an ISU student she studied for nine months in Costa Rica and following graduation spent two years in Washington, D.C., with the Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science Societies of America, working with agencies and departments on issues surrounding agriculture.

Today, in her position with the World Food Prize, she directs the Iowa Youth Institute, helps run the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue Symposium, and organizes the Iowa Hunger Summit. She also serves on the Iowa Governors STEM Advisory Council.

Catherine grew up on Des Moines’ eastside.

“I always assumed I’d live in Iowa long term,” she said. “Iowa has a special, rich humanitarian heritage. I have a deeper appreciation of that now.”

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