December 01, 2023

NHS senior scores unique internship

Barr will head to Guatemala for 8 weeks

A Newton High School senior is going to be a part of a special internship experience.

Anna Barr, a Kellogg resident, will spend eight weeks in Guatemala as one of 23 American high school students who have been awarded the prestigious 2015 World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan International Internships. All expenses are paid for interns, who will be sent to research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

“It’s really exciting,” Barr said. “We hope more Jasper County students can apply for this in the future, and get this same opportunity.”

Barr will be a part of specific program called “Project Spammy.” This project allows U.S. students to go to Guatemala and help create food-needs solutions through a combination of product innovation, leadership and in-country educational programming.

Barr said the application process involved writing a paper about a country and one hunger factor and presenting it at the World Food Youth Institute; presenting at the Global Youth Institute, held in Des Moines in October 2014; and interviewing with a committee in February.

Barr found out she was selected for the internship in March, but had to keep that a secret until the official announcement was made last week.

In 2015, World Food Prize interns were selected to travel to Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan and Turkey.

Barr is one of 12 of this year’s 23 summer interns in the program who are from Iowa.

Newton High School science teacher Bill Reed said Barr is the third NHS student to receive the World Food Prize summer internship. Emily Holley (‘03) spent eight weeks in Egypt at a fish research center during the summer of 2003, and Bill Tiedje, spent eight weeks in Ethiopia at a cattle research facility during the summer of 2006.

Reed is a grand-nephew of Dr. Norman Borlaug, who, along with John Ruan, helped found the World Food Prize — a sort of Nobel prize for global food security. Borlaug grew up on a farm in northeast Iowa and is credited with saving over 1.5 billion people from starvation through his work with wheat, rice, and corn; Reed said he grew calling Borlaug “Uncle Norm.”

Newton High School Principal Bill Peters said senior Jarret Horn participated in the Iowa World Food Youth Institute this spring.

“World hunger should be a concern to everyone,” Barr said. “I wouldn’t want to be someone who has to go without food, so I wouldn’t want anyone else to go without, either.”

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or