Life-changing global impact

The New York Youth Institute at Cornell University engages high school students on the biggest challenges facing people and the planet in the 21st century. We empower students to research issues they care about, propose their own innovative ideas to solve grand global challenges, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in New York and around the world.

March 22, 2024 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

The New York Youth Institute will welcome high school students from across New York State at Cornell University on March 22, 2024. 

Check out the 2024 agenda in the accordion below, and we'll see you soon on campus! 


A high school student inspects a hydroponic plant.


  • 8:00AM Check-In at the Call Auditorium Lobby in Kennedy HallNetworking and morning refreshments (enter Kennedy Hall at the Ag Quad entrance) 
  • 9:00AM Welcoming Remarks: New York Youth Institute (NYYI), World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF), and Cornell CALS leadership: Polly Endreny HolmbergAbigail Turner, and CALS Dean Benjamin Houlton, Call Auditorium
  • 9:25AM Presentation and Engaged Discussion: Francine Barchett, CALS PhD Candidate and WFPF Council of Advisors Youth Member and the 2023-24 Cornell Fulbright Humphrey Fellows: “Sowing the Seeds of Peace Amidst Controversy: How to Embrace Challenging Issues as a Young Leader and Hunger Fighter”
  • 10:30AM: Students proceed to designated roundtable rooms distributed on and around the Ag Quad 
  • 10:40AM Student Roundtables: Students present and hold discussions in small group sessions with Cornell experts and local professionals
  • 12:15PM: Conclude roundtables and proceed to the ILR Conference Center, King-Shaw Hall, for lunch
  • 12:30PM LUNCH: Enjoy Cornell Catering with joining Cornell students and experts, ILR Conference Center, King-Shaw Hall, 2nd floor lobby and rooms
  • 1:30PM Campus Tours: Students pre-select one of the 5 tours and groups depart from the ILR Conf. Center — Animal Agriculture: Teaching Barn; Soil Health Laboratory; Food Processing and Development Laboratory; Controlled Environment Agriculture: Aquaponics; Entomology: Insect Collection
  • 3:00PM: Depart tours to return to Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall, for Cornell Dairy ice cream refreshments
  • 3:30PM Cornell CALS and WFPF Student Panel Discussions: Hear from Anna Cummings of CALS Admissions and engage with CALS Student Ambassadors and World Food Prize Program Alumni, Call Auditorium 
  • 4:45-5:00PM Closing Ceremony and Group Photo: Commissioner Richard Ball and WFPF-NYYI Leadership, Call Auditorium

Each student should be prepared to provide a brief presentation on their Global Challenge research paper during a portion of the day called Student Roundtables.

In small groups during the event, each student will provide a brief presentation (approximately 3 minutes; no presentation slides) to expert panelists on their Global Challenge research paper. Following each presentation, there will be a few minutes for discussion with the panelists. For student talks, expert panelists will be listening for the following:

  • Summary of the topic/problem you selected in the context of your chosen country
  • Description of a typical family or community in your chosen country
  • Analysis of the topic and your proposed solutions/recommendations
  • Description of a feasible plan to implement your proposed solution(s)
  • Your passion for the topic and articulation/delivery of your speech 

Our NYYI team is happy to provide support as you prepare for the NYYI event. To help you prepare your talk, we will be holding a student support Zoom calls. Our NYYI team will also provide you options to practice your presentations with them on one-on-one calls. Connection information forthcoming.

Ithaca has several nice hotels near campus and across town, but rates and availability can fluctuate wildly depending on local events and time of year. If you plan to stay a night or two in Ithaca, it’s best to make your lodging arrangements as soon as possible. 

Students traveling from far out of town may opt to arrive in Ithaca the evening before the event and stay at a local hotel. We have arranged a special Cornell rate for NYYI participants to book a hotel room at the Best Western University Inn, if interested.  

Hotel Option with Special Cornell Rate:

  • Cornell University Best Western Booking Link*
  • *Once the Booking link loads, please select your desired dates of stay by hitting EDIT. 
  • Alternatively, if you prefer to book a room directly with a Best Western representative, please reach out to Marhea Cain at Marhea [at] (Marhea[at]twintierhospitality[dot]com) or by calling (607) 272-6100. Kindly inform her that you are affiliated with the New York Youth Institute and are seeking the Cornell rate.

The Best Western offers a complimentary Full Hot Breakfast Buffet, Parking, and Wi-Fi. Shuttle Service to and from the Airport and to/from Cornell is also included and is based upon demand and availability by calling the hotel front desk at (607) 272-6100.

How to participate in the New York Youth Institute

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 even a parent. They will help keep you on track and motivated to complete the paper.

Find instructions and resources for writing your paper on the World Food Prize website.

You and your teacher/mentor must register and submit your paper online by February 20, 2023.

Got questions? Contact Polly Endreny Holmberg!

  • Email: peh58 [at] (peh58[at]cornell[dot]edu)
  • Phone: 607-319-6293

Be part of an amazing experience at Cornell University and become a Borlaug Scholar.

Solve grand challenges

Work directly with leading experts on topics like:

  • Zero Hunger
  • Social Inequality
  • Climate Action
Students take part in a lab activity with soil

Become a Borlaug Scholar

Students who participate in the New York Youth Institute earn recognition as a Borlaug Scholar and qualify for internships and further opportunities. 

A life-changing opportunity for New York high school students

Gain Ivy League experience

Take part in a student-experience at Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), consistently ranked as one of the top in the world. The NYYI is part of CALS' Department of Global Development, which unites critical scholarship and practice at the intersections of agricultural, environmental, life, and social sciences to advance a more equitable, sustainable, and food-secure world for all.

Take part in a global event

The World Food Prize recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Select NYYI delegates are invited to take part in the World Food Prize held each year in Des Moines, Iowa.

Be a hunger fighter

Norman Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, was an American scientist whose achievements breeding new wheat varieties helped feed a hungry world. His work spurred the Green Revolution, and in 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to rid the world of hunger. 

Cluster of ornate stone buildings in autumn, with Cayuga Lake in the background.
World Food Prize Foundation
Norman Borlaug crouches in a wheat field as he examines a plant

Discover More

Learn more about the NYYI and opportunities to join by contacting Polly Endreny Holmberg

Polly Endreny Holmberg
Polly Endreny Holmberg

Associate Director, Humphrey Fellowship Program; Training Program Coordinator

Department of Global Development

Polly Endreny Holmberg
  • peh58 [at]
International education & professional development
Environmental sustainability
Community empowerment

Further opportunities for participants

The top students from each youth institute will be competitively selected as delegates to the Global Youth Institute, held every October in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Global Youth Institute is an exciting three-day program where young leaders 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.

Global Youth Institute delegates will be eligible to apply for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship.

An all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience for high school students to work with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Borlaug-Ruan Interns get a firsthand view of pressing food security and nutritional problems in poverty-stricken areas and take part in groundbreaking research.

Students selected as delegates for the Global Youth Institute are eligible to apply for the Borlaug Ruan International Internship.

A paid summer research or policy placement for college students at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory, agency, or at USDA headquarters in Washington D.C. Wallace-Carver Fellows analyze agricultural and economic policy; assist in the management of food, nutrition, and rural development programs; and take part in groundbreaking field and laboratory-based research. Fellows travel to Washington DC as part of their fellowship for a week-long high-level leadership program hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

All Borlaug Scholars are eligible to apply for a USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship.

Program highlights

Participants stand on stage for group photo


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