Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Pieper earns prestigious internship

May 19, 2017
Photo by: Karyn Spory Mt. Pleasant senior, Jack Pieper, will be spending his summer before college in Costa Rica as part of the prestigious Borlaug-Ruan international internship. Pieper will spend eight weeks researching food sustainability.

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


After walking across the stage this Sunday, Mt. Pleasant senior Jack Pieper will head off to Costa Rica. But instead of a beach-filled vacation, Pieper will embark on a prestigious eight-week internship.

Pieper will take part in the Borlaug-Ruan international internship. The internship, according to its website, “provides high school students with an all-expense paid, eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renounced scientists and policy makers at leading research centers around the globe.”

There’s an uncontainable excitement to Pieper as he talks about his upcoming internship.

“I’m going to work on the integrated organic farm at Earth University in Costa Rica,” he says. “It’s going to be more like sustainable agriculture, looking at how we can work with food in a sustainable way and provide food for future generations of people.”

Pieper is one of 24 students selected for the internship. “I’m going to Costa Rica, but there’s kids going to China, India and the Philippines,” he said. “We’re set up with world-renown experts in food security.”

To be eligible for the internship, students must attend the Global Youth Institute and then apply for the internship. “I decided to apply for the internship in December and I went through an interview phase in February. Then they pick from there,” he said.

Pieper became involved with World Food Prize’s Iowa Youth Institute and later the Global Youth Institute.

“I took an agronomy class the fall of my junior year and someone told me about the World Food Prize and I thought it sounded interesting and something I’d want to do,” he said.

With a farming background and an interest in sustainable agriculture, Pieper set to writing a research paper about a developing country and food security there.

The paper, Pieper explains, focused on the Ivory Coast and developing a mechanism to help sustain food development instead of the child labor, which is currently used.

“It was kind of a self realization thing,” said Pieper of his experience at the Iowa Youth Institute. “I was like ‘wow, this is what I want to do.’ I want to tackle food insecurity and do research to help people around the world.”

From there, Pieper was nominated and then invited to the Global Youth Institute.

It won’t be all work in Costa Rica for Pieper. He’s also excited to take in the culture while studying abroad. “I’ve always been interested in studying Spanish, so knowing I’ll be immersed in that culture and trying to speak it fluently, but probably not (is exciting).”

After his eight weeks in Costa Rica, Pieper will return to Iowa as he plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall. He will double major in agronomy and global resource systems.

Looking ahead to the next few months, Pieper said it’s the knowledge that he’s following his passion that has him most excited. “I’m (going to be) making an impact in the world through the research (I’ll be doing); I’m making a difference.”


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