Promoting Ag to Combat Hunger

Maddy McGarry approaches life like she’s training for a marathon. She’s focused. She puts in the work. And, while she trains for one race, or pursues one opportunity, she’s looking ahead for the next. One of those opportunities was interning with the Congressional Hunger Center last summer in Washington, D.C. McGarry, a senior with a double major in agricultural education and studies, communications option, and international agriculture, wrote stories to increase awareness about global food insecurity. It was just one of many opportunities she’s pursued to address hunger issues.

“I’m always seeking out opportunities and running with them,” McGarry says. “I’m a first generation student and I enjoy challenging myself.”

McGarry wanted to go into journalism, but thought it was too limiting. Then she discovered the communications option in agricultural education and studies that brought together her interests in journalism and agriculture.

“It’s a hidden gem,” McGarry says. “Now I’m equipped to make a difference and tell stories about the people who make a difference.”

The major also offered the opportunity to serve as president of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Club and as co-editor of CALS Connections, a magazine for CALS students. Even with her full schedule McGarry finds time to run every day. She had to take a break after she suffered a hairline fracture in Rome last summer. She was there with the
Dean’s Global Agriculture and Food Leadership Program – a partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Each year students in the 10-year-old program spend one month in Rome working on food security problems for the FAO.

“It was an intensive program, and I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career,” McGarry says. “We had nine students and my team of five students looked at the sustainability implications of shifting to a plant-based diet.”

McGarry graduated from high school in 3.5 years and will graduate college in 3.5 years. Mike Gaul, director of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences career services office, says McGarry has always been polished and focused.

“She gets it,” Gaul says. “She knows why she’s here, she knows where she’s going and she’s going to get there.”

During her short college career she’s participated in several internships. She’s worked as a public policy intern for World Food Program USA, a communications intern at the National Pork Producers Council, public relations intern at AMVC Management Services and as a customer insights intern for Vermeer.

She’s also studied abroad in Rome and Panama, but after two internships in Washington D.C. she’s hoping to land a job in communications in the nation’s capital. She’d like to work for a commodity group, member of Congress or an organization that’s focused on agriculture.

“Washington D.C. is an exciting, historic place and it’s a great place to meet new people,” McGarry says. “And I never get tired of running on the National Mall.”



Maddy McGarry earned several scholarships during her college career. The Jay and Julie Cornelius Jacobi Scholarship for Agricultural Study Abroad helped her travel to Panama, and the Dean’s Global Ag and Food Leadership Program Scholarship for Rome supported her participation. She’s been awarded several national, external scholarships and within CALS was selected as a Duane Hinkle Agriculture Scholarship recipient. The Hinkle scholarship was created to support Iowa students pursuing agricultural careers and provides over 35 scholarships per year to CALS students. Learn more about the Hinkle scholarship, which is administered through a relationship with the Iowa Farm Bureau, and other CALS scholarships