by Rica Joy Flor and Reianne Quilloy
A World Food Prize intern gave a seminar last August 6, 2010, highlighting a key learning alliance (LA) insight she learned while at IRRI. Callie Schultes, 19, from the USA, described her eight-week stint with the institute as hands-on learning activities from laboratory techniques to documenting the impact side of IRRI’s research. One thing she learned was the importance of exchanging and sharing information between partners (such as farmers, researchers and other stakeholders) to succeed in agricultural research and innovation.
Ms. Schultes is one of the 16 high school graduates who are part of the Borlaug-Ruan Summer Internship Program which aims to give students hands-on experience in well-renowned research centers. To learn more about the Norman-Borlaug Summer Internship Program and the World Food Prize, you may visit it here (insert link.) She had a joint-program at IRRI where she explored two areas of interest to her, genetics and women.
Her project in the genetics area was in the GAMMA laboratory, to genotype rice varieties from the farmers and experience hands-on exercises on some molecular techniques. After her laboratory work, she was assigned under the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium for her to observe and document in a small project how research translates to impact.
She was involved in the Message design workshop on hermetic storage, an activity of the learning alliance, linked with the Philippines Rice Self Sufficiency Program. She gave valuable insights that helped make the messages clear for non-technical audiences. She also observed social science activities implemented for documenting impact such as the survey implemented in Camarines Sur. With the help of LA partner, Caritas Diocese of Libmanan through Wilson Oriño, she visited partners in Libmanan, and had discussions with women farmers on how postharvest technologies might have impact on them. Her involvement in these activities helped her appreciate how important it is to extend research to the end-users.
Set to return to her home base, the incoming Biology student at the Iowa State Univeristy said she will bring with her valuable things she learned from this internship, that while she observed different people doing different things and embarking on different paths—basic and applied research, they all contribute towards the same goals, reducing poverty and helping rice farmers.