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NC Youth Institute

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April 5th, 2024 | NC State University, Plant Sciences Building

Register here by March 11th! (We are extending the deadline until Monday)

All high school youth are invited to join us for the 2024 North Carolina Youth Institute, an exceptional opportunity that ignites a passion for solving global hunger through an engaging exploration of agriculture and food systems. The North Carolina Youth Institute is an educational initiative of the World Food Prize Foundation and is designed to spark emerging leaders in developing innovative solutions for our world’s most pressing grand challenges surrounding feeding a growing population.

group photo of NCYI students

North Carolina Youth Institute students gathering at the Plant Sciences Building on Centennial Campus at NC State.

Dr. Norman Borlaug, the world’s greatest scientist and humanitarian hero developed a hybrid of wheat that critically increased global food production levels and is credited for saving the lives of one billion people. For this accomplishment, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and subsequently founded the World Food Prize to honor those who dedicate their lives to building food resiliency across the world. Dr. Borlaug’s life is a remarkable example of what youth can accomplish through scientific and humanitarian efforts.

The NCYI is hosted by NC State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program and the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and is a part of the World Food Prize Foundation’s Global Youth Institute. Youth come to campus in the spring of each year to attend the day long institute at NC State University and share their research paper among peers and a panel of judges. Hands-on workshops, field trips, keynotes and career development will round out the event. There is no registration cost to participate in the Institute.

To participate, youth research a global issue and write a three to four page paper under the supervision of a teacher/mentor (using these downloadable guidelines).


Here are the steps to get started:

Step 1: Find a mentor: identify a mentor locally that really believes in you. This could be a teacher at your school, a 4-H club leader, a coach, FFA advisor, or a parent. They will help keep you on track and motivated to complete the paper.

Step 2:  Research and write your paper: to get started on your paper use this guide to:

  • Choose a country (besides your own)

  • Research a typical family
Image of different family members
  • Choose a topic
  • Analyze the impact: How does your topic impact food security?
  • Solutions & recommendations: finding ideas for solutions can be tough. Start by researching what already exists.
  • Now write and format your paper!

Step 3: Register you and your mentor and then submit your paper here: Register and submit your paper online by March 11th, 2024. Registration is through NC State’s REPORTER system. First create a “Brickyard” account and then you will be able to register. If you have any questions, please email Liz Driscoll at

Step 4: Attend the North Carolina Youth Institute: on April 5th, 2024 be part of an amazing in-person experience at North Carolina State University and become a Borlaug Scholar.

If you have any questions or to learn more about the process of this program, contact the North Carolina Youth Institute State Coordinator, Liz Driscoll at or (919) 886-3424.

In the spring of each year, students attend the day long institute at NC State University and share their research paper among peers and a panel of judges. Hands-on workshops, field trips, keynotes and career development will round out the event. There is no registration cost to participate in the Institute and lodging and meals will be provided. However, both student and teacher/mentor participants must organize their own transportation to and from the event in Raleigh, NC.

The Global Youth Institute

The top students at the North Carolina Youth Institute will be competitively selected to represent the State of North Carolina as delegates at the Global Youth Institute, held in Des Moines, Iowa in October of each year. There, they will join 150 other outstanding high school students and teachers from across the United States and around the world for an exciting three-day program to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and the more than 1,000 global leaders from 65 countries attending the World Food Prize’s annual international symposium.

For more information on how to participate in the North Carolina Youth Institute, contact the North Carolina State Coordinator Liz Driscoll at or at (919) 886-3424.

youth gathered around a table discussing ideas

Youth sharing their roundtable ideas with the group.

youth talking

Youth sharing ideas towards building a more resilient food system

kids looking at arduino sensors

NCYI youth participate in hands-on agriculture technology workshop

NCYI youth take a tour of the high tech greenhouses at NC State’s Plant Sciences Building

Program Files

image of NCYI flyer

North Carolina Youth Institute 2024 Flyer Please share widely!

Front page of NCYI paper guidelines

2024 North Carolina Youth Institute Paper Guidelines