Aayush Goud

Aayush Goud

Wayzata High School junior Aayush Goud was among 55 students from around the state invited to this year’s Minnesota Youth Institute.

The educational program, which was online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosted by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

“It’s a competition in which youth try to explain a solution to certain food science or food security problems around the world,” Goud said of the event.

The institute is a program of the World Food Prize Foundation, which was created in 1986 by Norman Borlaug, a University of Minnesota alum who in 1970 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Borlaug’s work in developing new varieties of wheat starting in the 1940s spawned the “Green Revolution,” and is credited with saving at least a billion lives.

For their participation in Minnesota Youth Institute, the students are recognized as Borlaug Scholars and are now eligible for scholarships, internships and other professional opportunities. Goud and other students will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

For the May 18 virtual event, Goud presented to a roundtable of experts his research paper on sustainable agriculture in India.

Goud said his research paper focused on an agrivoltaic system that could be used to further agriculture in India while producing more green energy. The concept proposes a dual use of land for solar energy production and plant cultivation in order to improve overall production.

“I’m actually of Indian origin and I’ve been to India multiple times,” Goud said, adding that his uncle works as a food scientist and laboratory specialist at an agricultural research center in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

“He specializes in different types of soils. … And, one time, I had the opportunity to go to his campus and there I actually got to see an agrivoltaic system in action,” he said.

Building upon what he learned during the visit, Goud delved deeper into the topic while preparing his research paper.

A few weeks after presenting the paper, the student was invited to interview with the Minnesota Youth Institute panel as a potential delegate for the Global Youth Institute in October in Iowa.

“There I would explain my solution for my food science topic to other professionals that come from all across the world,” he said.

The Global Youth Institute was developed to challenge and inspire participating students and teachers to identify innovative strategies to alleviate hunger and to expose students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines.

The Wayzata High School student said he plans to continue exploring the topic of food security and hopes to one day be involved in helping solve issues related to world hunger.

“I do wish to do something like that in the future if I am given the chance,” he said.

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