Global Food Challenge Fellowships Awarded to Three ISU Students

Ending global hunger is a challenge three Iowa State University students hope to help solve. The students have been selected to work with agricultural experts and travel to Africa as part of a yearlong Global Food Challenge for Emerging Leaders for Food Security sponsored by Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Addie Bidwell, agronomy, Leah Ellensohn, agronomy, and Megan Schnell, agricultural and biological systems engineering, were among 10 college sophomores nationwide to receive the award.

Bidwell, from Grinnell, Iowa, has served as vice president of a National FFA Organization chapter and says the opportunity inspired her to pursue ideas that could help developing countries.

“Each Emerging Leader has their own background and interests, but we are all united by the same passion – to end global hunger,” Bidwell said.

Her experience includes working with farmers analyzing soil nutrients and identifying plant diseases as an agronomy intern. Her presentation for the Global Food Challenge outlined a three-step approach that addressed the economics, environmental and social aspects of food security.

Ellensohn, from Le Mars, Iowa, said her most recent internship took her to an Iowa farm, which provided hands-on experience in farm management. She is interested in researching new plant breeding techniques to improve yields, caloric content and sustainability.

“I plan to get the discussion started at Iowa State University by organizing a food packaging event,” Ellensohn said. “We can package food for the hungry in our country and other countries and get the conversation started about food security and how we can help.”

Schnell, from Charlottesville, Virginia, has gained experience in the field as an undergraduate researcher and is eager to resolve problems that face her generation. Her experiences, along with participation in a college aquaculture project, have fueled her interest in developing innovative and sustainable solutions to global food challenges.

The students will participate in an 11-week paid summer internship program, beginning in May. The students will travel to Africa, Washington, D.C. and Land O’Lakes Inc. locations. The Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security fellowship provides an opportunity for students to identify innovative and practical ways to increase in global food production. The students will be matched with professors who will help guide their research. Students will also have the opportunity to network with current and future leaders and agricultural advocates.

Next fall the students will present their final projects to industry experts and leaders at the Global Food Challenge Summit at Land O’Lakes, Inc. headquarters in Arden Hills, Minnesota. For more information about the Global Food Challenge Fellowship, visit