WEST CALDWELL, NJ – Michael Medina, an 8th grader at Grover Cleveland Middle School, recently presented his research on food insecurity at the New Jersey Youth Summit at Rutgers University. 

At the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education meeting on Monday, April 3, Medina will be presenting a brief overview of his experience at the NJ Youth Summit.

Medina’s research focused on how water and sanitation issues affect the ability of India to feed its growing population. Marissa Blodnik, 4-H Program Associate and Agent, and Jane Kinkle, retired science teacher from GCMS, mentored him throughout the process. 

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The research included reading, preparing a detailed report and presentation, and participating in weekly videoconferences, beginning in December and leading up to the conference earlier this month.

The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The program was founded by Dr. Norman Borlaug, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1970 for his work in addressing world hunger.

At the NJ Youth Summit, students were given the opportunity to:

  • Present research and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with statewide experts;
  • Connect with other student leaders from across New Jersey to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships;
  • Interact with global leaders in science, industry and policy;
  • Take part in educational sessions and interactive tours at Rutgers University to explore current research and issues in international development and life sciences; and
  • Meet innovative researchers, professors and college students in New Jersey working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world.

“It was a very long process and even pretty difficult at times,” said Medina. “But despite the grueling preparation and constantly being a bit nervous it was a truly awesome experience.  I am proud that I had the opportunity to attend an event like this and change the world, changing life for many, and I’m proud to be in legacy of the man who saved more lives than any other human, Dr. Norman Borlaug. I would do this again in a heartbeat.”

Medina said the 4-H Youth Development Program and the New Jersey Youth Summit are both phenomenal programs and added that more kids should get involved in them.