For three decades the DuPont Challenge essay contest has offered students from across the United States the opportunity to delve into the world of science and create a writing piece where they can express their own ideas and solutions for global issues in food, energy, protection and innovation. This year's contest had over 9,000 entries. It is with great pride that we announce agricultural education was represented for the third time in the contest's history amongst the winners of this year's contest. Chase Krug, a sophomore at Lin-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, was selected as the third place winner of the senior division. Krug is a student of NAAE member and agriculture teacher Barb Lemmer.
"Chase came to me as a freshman without a traditional agriculture background. Even though he is a non-traditional agriculture student, he has a love for science and a passion for plants," said Lemmer. "He began reading about plants in fourth and fifth grades, then began gardening on his own. He lives in town, but that doesn't stop him from being involved in agriculture."
Krug's love for plant science fueled his agriscience fair project, which eventually inspired his essay for the DuPont Challenge. His essay, titled Domesticating New Crop Species, focuses on sustainability, native crop species, and climate change, while addressing the global food shortage. Krug's central idea is to grow crops that are native to the area in order to develop a local food supply. This process would involve changing people?s diets and lifestyles in order to address hunger needs.
"According to my research, if we could get people to raise plants native to their particular location and change their diets, we would experience less crop loss and have fewer irrigation issues," said Krug.
As recipients of the DuPont Challenge award, Krug and Lemmer were given an expense-paid trip to Orlando, Florida where they visited Disney World, botanical gardens, NASA, and Epcot. Krug also received a $1,000 savings bond and access to Britannica Encyclopedia's Digital Learning E-book collection.
Krug plans to one day become a scientist, focusing on plant science, genetics and biotechnology.
"Chase is one of the rare students who takes what is on the board and investigates it," added Lemmer. "He has written 10 to 15 different essays for my class and has entered several different writing competitions. I am very proud to have him as a student and look forward to all of his future successes."
For more information about the DuPont Challenge and to see a full list of this year's recipients, click here.