Two Rwandan students who spent the summer working and learning at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff earned a trip to participate in the World Food Prize at Iowa, after their poster was a winner in a competition. By Business Farmer


A poster by Tonny Ruhinda and Joviale Uwase won second prize in a UNL poster contest sponsored by Global Engagement, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource, and Water for Food.

Local host families for the two students during their Scottsbluff stay were John and Kerri Berge and Bryan and Laura Barrett.

The poster summarized Tonny and Joviale’s experiential learning at Scottsbluff. They helped with two research projects, one related to using high-carbon char as a soil amendment, and the other related to measure the amount of nitrogen loss from greenhouse gas samples collected. The poster was judged on how successfully it communicated their experience and link it to their learning and goals for Rwanda.

The poster competition was the first CUSP Annual Experiential Learning Poster Competition. Students in CUSP (the CASNR Undergraduate Scholarship Program) pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Science that is focused on conservation agriculture, entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovative thinking and is aligned with the areas of need as identified by the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

CUSP scholars are required to have hands-on, practical training to help develop technical skills and put in practice classroom learning. The scholars were also challenged to think through how their learning could have an impact on ag in Rwanda or present a solution to a specific issue in ag in Rwanda.

The winners received a trip to the 2017 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium Oct. 18-20 at Des Moines, Iowa. The symposium included the annual presentation of the World Food Prize, and a set of events drawing over 1,000 participants from over 50 countries.

At the symposium, Tonny and Joviale engaged with ag practitioners and entrepreneurs. The goal is to deepen their understanding of ag challenges and opportunities in the continent and inform themselves on issues that may be relevant to Rwanda. They also were to think about how to summarize the information for their classmates and challenge them to think about those issues.