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Auburn's Hunger Solutions Institute names two Canadians, two alumnae as its first fellows

 

As a HSI fellow, Gavin Armstrong hopes to develop more ideas like the Lucky Iron Fish Project, which helps treat anemia in Cambodia.

As a HSI fellow, Gavin Armstrong hopes to develop more ideas like the Lucky Iron Fish Project, which helps treat anemia in Cambodia.

The four scholars selected as the first fellows of the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University share a commitment to ending hunger, but each of them brings a different skill to the global hunger fight, which will help raise the visibility of the institute.

Gavin Armstrong and Adam Little from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and Lauren Little and Sydney Herndon from Auburn will spend the next year working on various hunger projects in the U.S., Canada, Italy and Cambodia.

"The Hunger Solutions Institute has attracted four bright, dedicated young professionals as our first fellows who are committed to solving hunger at home and abroad," said June Henton, dean of the College of Human Sciences and Hunger Solutions Institute executive director. "Auburn will gain tremendous visibility from their work as they represent the institute with prominent international agencies including the United Nations World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, both headquartered in Rome."

Armstrong, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical science at Guelph and Fulbright Scholar, will continue his work with the Lucky Iron Fish Project in Cambodia. To address the problem of iron deficiency, Cambodians are encouraged to cook with a nugget of iron shaped like a fish – a symbol of luck in Cambodian culture. Armstrong said the people have been accepting of the idea since they believe cooking with a fish-shaped piece of iron brings them luck. It also produces 75 percent of the daily requirement of iron.

The Lucky Iron Fish Project was selected by Google as one of the 10 most innovative ideas of the year and Armstrong has received much recognition for his low-cost, low-tech solution to a major health problem. His honors have included becoming the first Canadian to receive the William Jefferson Clinton Award for his hunger activism and the inaugural Michäelle Jean Emergency Hunger Relief Award.

Armstrong said the Lucky Iron Fish Project is redefining a social enterprise. Not only does it improve the health of those who use it, but it's made from recycled car parts by people in the community, which helps infuse wealth into the local economy. If the fish becomes contaminated, it's made into tools. Even the packaging is made in the same community using recycled materials.

Adam Little plans to use his skills as a veterinarian to help address the issue of global food production.

Adam Little plans to use his skills as a veterinarian to help address the issue of global food production.

Adam Little, who graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph in June, will divide his fellowship between Life Learn and several other ventures across the U.S. and Canada. Life Learn is a Guelph-based interactive and social media communications company established to work on interactive knowledge management tools for the veterinary sciences.

He spent 10 weeks this summer at Singularity University in California working with 80 students from 40 countries on developing lab-produced meat via 3D printing technology. In August, the concept garnered worldwide attention when a Dutch researcher created the world's first lab-grown hamburger, which was cooked and eaten by three people in London.

"Cultured meat is a technology which will allow us to produce real meat, slaughter free, outside of the animal, using laboratory methods, while at the same time addressing one of the greatest challenges that our world faces, which is how to meet the global demand for meat in the coming decades," said Adam Little.

Lauren Little was an active participant in the War on Hunger as an undergraduate at Auburn, including serving as president of the Committee of 19 before graduating from the College of Human Sciences in May.

Because she is currently enrolled in the MBA program in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, her role as a fellow will be to develop a business model for the Hunger Solutions Institute and the fellows program.

Lauren Little will remain in Auburn for the duration of the fellowship.

"This is what I want to do with my career – work with nonprofits to help them form that business foundation so they can do what they do better," she said. "The MBA is so interesting and I really enjoy it, and I think I can use it to get where I want to be, but this is where my heart is. This is what I'm really passionate about."

Sydney Herndon, at left, will spend her fellowship working with the World Food Programme in Rome, Italy and Washington, D.C.

Sydney Herndon, at left, will spend her fellowship working with the World Food Programme in Rome, Italy and Washington, D.C.

Sydney Herndon, who earned a degree in anthropology from Auburn in August, has been interning at the World Food Programme headquarters in Rome since July. Her responsibilities have been with the Preparedness and Response Enhancement Programme, which aims to improve the World Food Programme's large-scale emergency responses by using qualitative and quantitative research of past operations to determine best practices and address obstructions.

Herndon was part of an Auburn collective who not only created a qualitative analysis of the World Food Programme's emergency responses from around the world during the past decade, but were asked to present their results to staff of the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome this summer.

"I think the institute is really good at being able to take individuals with big ideas and individuals with just a very strong passion for this fight against hunger and connect them to organizations who can help them, but also who can benefit from their passion and their ideas," she said. "As a fellow, I hope to be able to make those connections."
When her internship ends in February, Herndon will likely spend the remainder of her fellowship with World Food Programme in Washington, D.C.

Established in 2012, the Hunger Solutions Institute was created to raise awareness and promote worldwide initiatives in the fight against hunger. In April, Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey helped launch the institute's first outreach initiative, End Child Hunger in Alabama, which aims at moving Alabama into the top 25 percent of states with the highest degree of child food security by 2020.

By Amy Weaver, Office of Communications & Marketing

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Last Updated: Nov. 1, 2013

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