Young Alum of the Month – July 2021

Name: Joi Latson

ISU Degree Information: ’18 Global Resource Systems, Languages and Cultures for Professions with a Concentration in Spanish

Job title and company: Global Youth Institute Program Coordinator for the World Food Prize Foundation

Job responsibilities:

Joi Latson speaking to a classroom of young studentsLatson assists with the planning and executing of the Youth Institutes. It is an opportunity for high school students, teachers, and experts to explore and solve local, national and global hunger and food security issues.

The Global Youth Institute selects 200 high school students from around the world to attend the Global Youth Institute that is hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. Students and their mentors attend a three-day event to discuss food security and agricultural issues with experts. Students have the opportunity to present and discuss their findings, connect with others from around the world, tour research facilities, and have discussions with global leaders.

They have the opportunity to travel abroad and make a difference, participate in hands-on projects, tour innovative industrial and research facilities, and interact with global leaders. This year the Global Youth Institute will be over an entire week instead of 3 days due to the event occurring virtually.

What do you enjoy the most about your current role?

“Getting to connect with a variety of young people around the world to get them excited about agriculture and food security! They have so many fantastic ideas and offer up a brand-new perspective,” Latson says.

What made you decide to pursue a career path in global agriculture?

“I grew up in a big city and never understood how broad the field of agriculture was until I went to Iowa State. I’ve always cared about health and people but didn’t realize that people were such a crucial part of agriculture. I was able to combine all my interests by pursuing a career in agriculture,” Latson says.

What was your favorite class or professor during your time at Iowa State University?

“Dorothy Masinde was my favorite professor. I was able to build a relationship with her outside of the classroom. She served as my mentor for my senior thesis where I did my research in Uganda, and I always felt comfortable talking to her about anything and everything. She wanted all her students to succeed and would challenge us,” Latson says.

What organizations/clubs were you involved with on campus?

Latson was involved in Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc, Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), George Washington Carver Scholar Program through the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, Women of Colour Network, and Student Government.

What advice do you have for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students?

“Try to have as many experiences during your time in undergrad as possible! It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to do, but by taking a variety of classes, talking to other students, and being as involved as possible, I found a field I truly enjoyed. I also recommend taking a second language if you can! I always knew I wanted to continue learning Spanish in college but having those language skills has opened up so many opportunities for me,” Latson says.