2021 Florida Youth Institute

July 11-16 or July 18-23, 2021 (Virtual)

Eligible for students entering grade 11 or 12.

The Florida Youth Institute is a one-week online summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors interested in learning more about college majors and career opportunities pertaining to the life sciences, biological engineering, natural resources and Florida agriculture. Program highlights include meeting the dean, various faculty and students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the World Food Prize. Students will experience virtual laboratories, and reflect on food security issues that face the world. 

Important Information: If accepted, students must make a commitment to attend and participate in the entire program.  Please confirm no other academic, school-related, sports, or family events will conflict with the program dates.

Program Cost: $125. Cost includes program staffing and program-themed materials for participants.

All interested and qualified students are encouraged to apply regardless of ability to pay.  Limited, need-based scholarships are available for students attending a Florida high school. 

What FYI Offers

The Florida Youth Institute is a life-changing experience for high school students.  As a participant you will get the unique opportunity to engage with local leaders and experts on critical global challenges, participate in hands-on activities, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Florida and around the world. As a participant in FYI, you would have the opportunity to: 

  • Present research and recommendations on ways to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with statewide experts
  • Virtually experience laboratories and campus facilities
  • Connect with other student leaders from across Florida to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships
  • Explore the issues, current research and opportunities to make a difference at the University of Florida
  • Interact with global leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in Florida working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world
  • Meet with UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Dr. Elaine Turner and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried

Students research issues they care about, and propose their ideas to solve these grand challenges. These application papers are entered to compete in The World Food Prize. Students who participate in the Florida Youth Institute are eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship to study in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida, receive recognition as a Borlaug Scholar, and qualify for internships and further opportunities. 

Applicants should be motivated, mature students who are dedicated to the future of agriculture and the related sciences.

The Florida Youth Institute is hosted by the University of Florida with the generous support of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences.

Application Requirements for FYI

Applicants must create an account in our online application portal in order to apply for any student programs offered by UF CPET. The online application portal is www.ufcpet.smapply.us.  All components are submitted using the online application process unless noted.  After all the below components of the application are completed, student must log into their account and SUBMIT their application.

An FYI Application consists of the following:

User Information: Provide applicant and parent/guardian contact information.

Application Form:  Additional information as well as answering one writing prompt. 

  • Prompt 1: In 300-400 words, discuss how you can improve food security in your school and community.
  • We encourage you to ask a teacher or mentor who knows you well in a subject area you would like to pursue while you are here.
  • Endorsers will receive an automated request from noreply@smapply.io once a student has requested an endorsement in their online application. However, we recommend that students contact their teacher prior to filling out the online request.

Endorsement Form:  One online Endorsement Form filled out and submitted by a high-school or college-level math, science, research, or computer science teacher or mentor is required. 

  • If they do not receive an email from our system, please double-check that you have their correct email address before contacting us. This is the #1 reason why teachers do not receive the endorsement form.

High School Transcript (Offline Task*, see note below):  Submit your unofficial transcript with first semester (Fall 2020) grades to UF CPET via FAX.

  • Our FAX is 352-392-2344 (Not sure how to FAX? Ask your guidance counselor for help.)
    • Our fax machine gets really busy during application season, especially as deadlines approach. Make sure your fax sends before walking away! 
    • Students are required to have started their application before transcripts are received. Transcripts received without an associated on-line application account will be destroyed.
  • *Offline Tasks: In the application portal, students are required to acknowledge the requirement of the each of these “off-line” portions by clicking “submit for approval”. The CPET office will log receipt of the each requirement. Please note that our system may be automated, but our process isn’t!  When you send your transcript, we still need to look it over and make sure it has everything we need before a person goes into the system to let you know that we’ve received it. This can take up to three business days based on how many applications we are receiving simultaneously. After the requirement is logged, students will need to complete the section by clicking “complete” in the on-line portal.
Application Deadlines & Notifications

The application deadline is March 15th.  Once the applications are received, they are reviewed by our selection committee.  Invitations will be extended the by April 5th. The committee carefully reads each application, essay, transcript, and teacher endorsement we receive. Once we have reached a decision, we will send out an email through our online application portal.  Notifications regarding your account and application progress will come from noreply@smapply.io. Please add this address to your email safe senders list, address book, or contact list.

Please note that applicants, not their parents, receive all correspondence from our office.  It is the student’s responsibility to provide a working email address and check that email address regularly for communication from UF CPET.  Failure to respond to email in a timely manner may result in the student being placed on the wait list. At any time applicants and parent “collaborators” may check on acceptance status in the online portal.

Please note that Florida Youth Institute has a different application process than our other programs. The three possible decisions are as follows: preliminary invitation, waitlist, or not invited.   If you are a good fit for the program based on your application, you will be given a Preliminary Invitation. Preliminary Invitation is contingent on writing and submitting a World Food Prize Essay by April 23rd.

World Food Prize Essay

If you are a good fit for the program based on your application, you will be given a Preliminary Invitation. Preliminary Invitation is contingent on writing and submitting a World Food Prize Essay by April 23rd. 

The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, in partnership with the World Food Prize, requires all students attending the Florida Youth Institute to write a 1500-2000 word APA or MLA formatted essay. During FYI all participants will share their findings and solutions with a panel of experts and their fellow participants, and ultimately contend for the opportunity to attend the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa in October of 2020. In addition, students completing the essay and attending FYI will be named Borlaug Scholars and become eligible for United State Department of Agriculture fellowships and international internships. Students attending FYI will be eligible to earn one of two $6000 ($750 per semester) scholarships upon admission to UF as a freshman or transfer student and enrollment in one of the 23 majors in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. (If a transfer student the scholarship will be in the amount of $3000 ($750 per semester).

Steps to writing the essay:    

  • Choose a developing country
  • Research a typical family in that country
  • Select a topic (plants, water scarcity, renewable energy, animal health, climate volatility, sustainable agriculture, animal agriculture, spoilage and waste, water and sanitation, dietary diseases, malnutrition, infectious diseases, populations, conflict, human rights, education, or infrastructure)
  • Analyze its impact on food
  • Explore and propose solutions
  • Additional instructions will be provided upon acceptance into the Florida Youth Institute
  • Students are expected to submit a bibliography (excluded from the word limit)

If you receive a preliminary invitation and submit the World Food Prize Essay by the specified deadline you will be invited to attend the Florida Youth Institute and will have 10 days to accept your invitation to the program.