Our Experience with Bayer as a NCSU Park Scholar
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
My name is Mikayla Raleigh and I am a Park Scholar at North Carolina State University. I am one of 44 scholars in the class of 2017 who were chosen to represent the Park Program for our aptitude in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. As Park Scholars, we are pushed to develop ourselves in each of these four areas, both on our own and with the help of planned retreats and trips funded by the program. One such trip is called Learning Lab I, where we explore a current issue facing North Carolina leaders and learn how they address their challenges. On April 4 and 5, 2014, my class explored the issues of sustainable agriculture and genetic engineering as they relate to global and local issues of food security. We had the pleasure of interacting with Bayer CropScience as the first stop on our trip.
Our visit with Bayer CropScience proved to be the perfect springboard for enthusiastic conversation on our Learning Lab. We were able to meet with an esteemed and diverse panel of leaders within the company who provided us with many points of view on the topics of genetic engineering and sustainable agriculture. We discussed how seeds become genetically modified and their impact on the environment. Additionally, we clarified many of the stereotypes about organic and GMO produce and compared the two options. Of course one of our main objectives, which was wholeheartedly met, was to understand many of the myths related to genetically engineered products. However, my personal favorite part of discussion was the information we were given about the misleading nature of current food labels. As someone who would consider herself an educated consumer of food, I never realized that only certain products even have genetically modified versions. Therefore the labeling of produce, such as grapes, as “non-GMO” is redundant and misleading because there is no such thing as a genetically modified grape. This situation is simply an example of marketing personnel taking advantage of many peoples’ lack of knowledge of this topic to increase their profits and improve branding. Fortunately for our group, we can all confidently say that we are more educated consumers after our time with the Bayer panelists. I, for one, accrued many bits of knowledge that I still find myself referencing today as I strive to make more informed decisions when it comes to the food I eat.
On behalf of the Park Scholar Class of 2017 I would like to offer our full-felt gratitude for the presentation Bayer put together for us. As coordinator of this part of Learning Lab I, I received very positive feedback from my peers and mentors following the presentation. We could not have asked for a more beneficial way to start our exploration of genetic engineering and sustainable agriculture.
Mikayla Raleigh is a native of Raleigh, NC and a member of the Park Scholar Class of 2017, a group of students at North Carolina State University dedicated to scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Last year at State she was a member of the Learning Lab I planning committee for the Park Program and also a varsity cheerleader on NCSU's Large Coed Cheerleading team. She is majoring in Business Administration and is working towards two minors in Spanish and Sports Science.