Millersburg native spends summer in World Food internship

Millersburg native Halee Fisher is spending her summer at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batán, Mexico.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Fairfield High School student Halee Fisher, of Millersburg, is one of 24 to be selected by the World Food Prize Foundation to be sent abroad for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program at renowned international research centers and NGOs this summer. 

“I am super excited to part of the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship this summer. It has been a dream of mine to go into a field with a focus in food security and thanks to the World Food Prize Foundation I have this wonderful opportunity,” said Fischer. “I am not only going to be prepared with a new sense of knowledge, I will have a huge head start at my journey at Purdue University this fall. I cannot wait to emerge myself into a culture and fight global hunger.”

In 2017, Fisher was selected to be one of nine Indiana students to represent the state at that year’s World Food Prize Global Youth Institute.

The students selected for these internships come from 10 different states and will delve into issues related to global hunger and poverty during eight-week internships in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The students’ internships can be followed through the Borlaug-Ruan International Intern blog at

This is the 21st year of the program, which was created by 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Norman Borlaug as well as John Ruan Sr. It allows high-school-age student interns to participate in projects with distinguished researchers at leading agricultural research centers around the globe. While getting a firsthand view of real and pressing food security issues and nutrition problems in poverty-stricken areas, the students become an integral part of a project, spending time in the lab as well as days or weeks at a time in the field conducting research and interviews and gathering data. 

“This is one the most unique and innovative programs in the United States,” said Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation and former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia. “The Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program seeks to inspire high school students to education and careers in science in order to confront and eliminate food insecurity. Norman Borlaug told us that the great challenge of the 21st century is whether or not we can eradicate hunger, poverty, and malnutrition, and meet what is the greatest challenge human beings have ever faced: are we going to be able to sustainably and nutritiously feed the over 9 billion people who will be on our planet? It will be up to you, Borlaug-Ruan interns, and your generation to decide whether we meet this challenge or not.”

The interns are involved in a myriad of global projects dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger, such as fisheries and aquaculture studies; plant biotechnology research; micro-credit and women’s self-help; the influence of education on household food security; livestock value chains; and the calculation of vitamin C concentration in numerous potato varieties.

Fisher is interning at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batán, Mexico.

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