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HORLYK: World Food Prize internship gives Onawa design student new perspective

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AMES, Iowa | The movers and the shakers responsible for improving the quality, quantity and availability of food around the world were in Des Moines during World Food Prize Week Oct. 16-21.

The event gave Michele Fredrickson, a 22-year-old Onawa, Iowa, native, a  chance to rub shoulders with global leaders in the areas of agriculture, economics and social sciences, among other disciplines.

"It was overwhelming to say the least," she said. "Being at such a prestigious event with people from around the world really made you feel like a global citizen."

But Fredrickson admitted she didn't know much about the World Food Prize Foundation before the Iowa State University graphic design senior became one of the 15 students selected for the organization's George Washington Carver internships.

Founded in 1986 by Norman E. Borlaug, a Cresco, Iowa-born agronomist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the World Food Prize has been recognizing individuals who are making vital contributions in food distribution while the World Food Prize Foundation has hosted the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium to help further the discussion of cutting edge global food security issues while inspiring the next generation of innovators to end hunger. 

"(George Washington) Carver interns work directly with World Food Prize professional staff in planning the Borlaug Symposium, guiding the Global Youth Institute, staging the Iowa Hunger Summit and welcoming (visiting) laureates, government officials, business leaders and research scientists from more than 40 countries," World Food Prize president Kenneth Quinn explained.

"I became a graphic design intern at the World Food Prize in May," Fredrickson said. "The internship was only supposed to last for summer. Since I was was helping to design the social media, website banners, invitations and the Laureate Award Ceremony programs, I was asked to stay with the Foundation until the conclusion of the World Food Prize events."

Always interested in art, she said the internship allowed her to be creative.

But working in offices at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, in Des Moines, made Fredrickson think about food in a more meaningful way.

"When we look at hunger, we usually think of it as being something that happens in (developing nations)," she said. "Hunger can exist anywhere, even in Iowa."

Fredrickson said preparing for her last year in college is "both exciting and scary."

"Like most seniors, I worry about getting a job after graduation," she said. "I think graphic design graduates only focus on working in the corporate world. In my case, I'd love to work for a corporation but doing graphic design for a nonprofit like the World Food Prize Foundation is also an option.

"When I started my internship, I didn't know anything about global food issues," Fredrickson added. "Now, I have a better understanding on food plus I've made myself more marketable as a graphic designer."


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