WLHS student receives competitive internship

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – For West Lafayette High School senior Arthi Puri, her interest in solving food insecurity started thousands of miles away from Tippecanoe County. It started when she was visiting family in India.

“I would go to India a lot with my family,” Puri said. “I saw a lot of malnourishment and hunger there, and wanted to research that.

A paper about hunger in India and her solutions to the problems got her a trip to the World Food Prize in Iowa in October. The World Food Prize is given for outstanding achievements in agriculture when it comes to alleviating food insecurity around the world.

By attending the event, she could apply for an internship with the institute.

“I got the interview, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh I’m almost there, you can do it,'” Puri said.

Puri did do it. She is one of 23 young people being sent around the world this summer to help solve hunger. Her assignment will be lab research in Beijing.

“What I’ll be doing is cloning genes and analyzing the different functions of the proteins in the plants and see what helps the plants grow more efficiently,” Puri said.

Puri said in China most of the food insecurity is in the rural areas.

“The main problem there is farming techniques,” Puri said. “How do they keep the plants sustainable? How do they get the right nutrients to the right people, so they aren’t just living off subsidized carbs?”

After her eight-week internship Puri will start her freshman year at Indiana University, where she wants to study to become a doctor. She plans to minor in public health.

She hopes her experience this summer will help begin to shape her future career.

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