Dr. Catherine Swoboda
Lecturer, Iowa State University
Catherine was just a high schooler when she met Norman Borlaug – an encounter that would shape the course of her life and career. Until then, she had only been exposed to agriculture through an old family farm. But it was her participation in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute that opened her eyes to the possibilities of impacting people’s lives and alleviating suffering around the world.
“I learned to think and act globally and consider how that impacts my career and life. I carry that inspiration with me today.”
Her passion for science took her to Brazil as a World Food Prize intern, and later to Costa Rice while studying at Iowa State University. It was at ISU that she earned her bachelor’s in agronomy and a master’s in crop production physiology. Post-graduation she established the Iowa Youth Institute, a model educational program which promotes STEM among high school students and teachers.
“Whether you want to ultimately go into education, policy or law, having a background in science, research or agriculture is a practical and powerful foundation that will allow you to better serve others.”
Catherine was appointed to the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in 2011, and in 2012 was the chief organizer of the world’s premier conference on global agriculture – the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue Symposium. Now, a lecturer in Global Resource Systems for the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University, Catherine is busy preparing the next generation of agriculture leaders.