This year’s winner of the Borlaug CAST Communication Award was Dr. Channapatna Prakash, who gave a keynote presentation during the award ceremony entitled, “Everything I Know about GMOs, I Learned on Social Media”. Currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Tuskegee University, Prakash was instrumental in establishing the prestigious plant biotechnology research and training program at the school, and he has a long list of influential publications and awards. He has presented his messages about agriculture in more than 70 countries.
Each year, CAST awards a science and/or agriculture expert who demonstrates an great ability to communicate messages through various media platforms. Colleagues say that he can communicate with “every kind of audience, in every medium available.”
The October 14 morning session began with short remarks by CAST EVP Kent Schescke and DuPont Pioneer Research Director Wendy Srnic. Julie Borlaug Larson of the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture spoke about Dr. Borlaug’s legacy, and CAST President David Songstad introduced the award winner.
Dr. Prakash’s presentation centered on the challenges scientists and the agricultural community have when dealing with modern media. Prakash used thought-provoking images and personal anecdotes to emphasize the need for innovative science. He also encouraged the use of effective “hands on” education. “Knowledge is important,” he said. “We need to rekindle curiosity and wonder in our young people.”