This summer, MIDP alumna Jennie Davis and her team won the weeklong MIT Beyond Food Bootcamp competition with their product to teach children about growing food, MySeedStory.

With MySeedStory, children would be able to grow food, capture their food moments, and share them with each other. As children learn more about the process of growing food, they will become more conscious of how they and others use this scarce resource, encouraging them to think harder about sustainable ways to combat global hunger.

Jennie entered the competition through the recommendation of a friend: “A good friend of mine from Peace Corps Senegal forward me an email about MIT’s Beyond Food Bootcamp. She also recommended me to apply to be a panelist at Boston University’s African Studies Conference. She knew about my work in agribusiness while I was a volunteer and felt I would be an excellent fit for the program. I applied in May soon after graduation. After that, it was a series of four rounds of applications, and I kept moving on to the next round. I sent a form with my information, a short essay on why I would be an ideal candidate, a short 30 sec video, and then a video interview. I did not overthink it because I knew MIT Bootcamp has a strict and vigorous application process. However, I kept moving on in the process until I received their acceptance letter in July, which is when I learned that it would take place in Taiwan.”

“During the application process,” she says, “I referenced a lot from my Master’s Project and how nutrition is a complex problem in Accra, Ghana and how it is becoming a significant issue in Ghana and West Africa. I also spoke about my work in Peace Corps with solar food drying and how the project was not successful, which led me to apply to grad school and concentrate on food and nutrition in West Africa.

As for the next steps, Jennie says her team is “taking a leap of faith” to continue working on the MySeedStory prototype. She’s also on the job hunt, seeking work in the international development and food security realm.

Congratulations, and good luck Jennie!

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