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Letter from the field

World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan Intern Describes Experience with CIMMYT in Turkey

Adam WillmanThe prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship provides high school students an all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading international research centers.

Adam Willman, a Borlaug-Ruan International Intern from Iowa, USA, spent last summer working for CIMMYT’s Soil Borne Pathogens (SBP) Division in Eskişehir, Turkey, working and studying root lesion nematodes under Dr. Abdelfattah “Amer” Dababat and Dr. Gül Erginbas Orakcı.

Willman said “Everyone I worked with had something different and interesting to teach me. I experienced a wide variety of the work that is ongoing at CIMMYT-Turkey. These experiments focused on the overall goals of reducing food loss from disease and pests that can plague farm fields across the globe.”

Willman’s work also included assisting Elfinesh Shikur Gebremariam from Ankara University with Fusarium fungus, Fateh Toumi from Ghent University and Jiang Kuan Cui from China’s Ministry of Agriculture with cereal cyst nematodes. “I was exposed to both the threat that plant diseases pose to food security and the cutting-edge research to combat this” he added.

Willman also commented on the unique opportunity to experience Turkey’s people and culture, saying “I witnessed the amazing kindness, generosity and hospitality of everyone from the director of the research institute, to CIMMYT researchers and workers, to everyday strangers. I am very thankful for my time and experience at CIMMYT-Turkey.”

In a final message he thanked Dr. Dababat, Dr. Erginbas and all of the workers and researchers at SBP.

“Working with SBP for eight weeks truly changed my life and gave me the perspective on my education that I am still utilizing today. I hope to in the future become a plant pathologist and continue researching the many diseases and pests that affect the crops that we, as a planet, depend on. Global food security is within reach, and the scientists and workers at SBP are helping us obtain this goal,” Willman concluded.


Adam Willman (5th from the left) with the SBP pathogens division, students, visitors and Global Wheat Program Director Dr. Hans Braun during a field day in Eskişehir. This photo was taken in the field of the Transitional Zone Agriculture Research Institute (TZARI) in Eskisehir, Turkey.