Holly Mayton, a graduate student in chemical and environmental engineering at UC Riverside has been selected for the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute, a competitive program that accepts 40 graduate students from across the United States each year to attend a two-week program on global food security.
The institute, which will be June 5-18 at Purdue University in Indiana, is aimed at graduate students who are interested in developing a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges surrounding global food security, with a focus on cross-disciplinary problem solving for real-world challenges.
Mayton, a second-year Ph.D. student, is conducting research on foodborne pathogens in the lab of Sharon Walker, a professor of chemical and environmental engineering in UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering.
“Holly exemplifies the type of interdisciplinary scholar that we seek to recruit and train here at UCR. I’m thrilled she will be part of the Borlaug Institute, and I look forward to learning from her as she brings her new knowledge back to campus,” Walker said.
Mayton’s participation in the Borlaug Institute will strengthen her contributions to several UC initiatives relating to food security and sustainability. In 2014, UC President Janet Napolitano introduced the University of California Global Food Initiative (UCGFI), a cross-campus venture with the overarching goal of addressing how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. Complementary to this initiative, UC Riverside’s California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFÉ) was launched in February as an umbrella research initiative that facilitates the integrative, multidisciplinary study of complex issues associated with agriculture and food.
Among her efforts on campus, Mayton serves as a UCGFI fellow, a graduate student representative on the CAFÉ Executive Committee and a volunteer in UCR’s Community Garden. She said participating in the Borlaug Institute is an opportunity to share how UC Riverside is prioritizing food security and sustainability, and learn from others.
“As an engineer by training, I crave opportunities for collaboration and conversation about global, interdisciplinary issues in which science plays a role, and ensuring access to equitable and safe food is an ideal application,” she said.
“I hope that my experience working with global food security experts will prepare me to share effective and integrative approaches to addressing student food insecurity with the UCR community.”