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Mamaroneck Student Takes on World Hunger

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Piper Martz hopes to win an eight-week international internship to research world hunger in a country of her choice next summer at the three-day Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa, where she will present her paper on one of her favorite subjects -- food.

Piper's passion for healthy, sustainable food led her to create the Real Food Club at Mamaroneck High School, where she is a senior.

She will apply that passion when she presents her paper, titled, "Senegal: Averting the Overfishing Crisis," in front of 600 global leaders from 65 countries. Most of her competitors chose to study Ethiopia. Piper became interested in Senegal because of her chemistry teacher Amary Seck, who grew up in the West African country.

"He's an awesome guy," said Piper, who has several friends in Students For Senegal , a high school club Seck founded to raise money for Senegalese school children.

The international symposium, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation, will be held Oct. 13 to Oct. 15.

"I immediately wanted to do it," said Piper, whose paper creates a policy for how Senegal could prevent overfishing and turn a better profit on its exports. "Throughout the summer, I did all my research while I was traveling. But obviously it was worth it."

Piper already presented her paper at Cornell University Sept. 17, where she received a $5,000 scholarship to intern for five weeks with any division of the United States Department of Agriculture during college. This also qualified her, and two other presenters, to apply for the Borlaug-Raun International Internship at the Global Youth Institute.

The World Food Prize was created in 1986 by Dr. Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. In 1994, the Global Youth Institute was established to involve the next generation in its mission of improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world, according to its website.

Piper will be one of over 200 high school and international students to participate in the annual event, each of which will be accompanied by a teacher mentor.

"I think it's a real honor for the school, for Piper, for myself, to have this opportunity," said Diane Nelson, Piper's teacher mentor.

If Piper, who also plays varsity soccer and track, were to receive the internship, she would be working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at a leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Although she doesn't yet know which location she would select, the National Honors Society member said she wants to pursue the sciences: chemistry, environmental science and possibly agricultural science.

"I've started to think that, for graduate school, I want to go to a bigger school with more funding like Cornell, which is a really good program," Piper said.

Currently, she is considering either attending Vassar College or Middlebury College for her undergraduate studies.

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