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"What they’re working on today is relevant"


Written by: Ryan McGaughey -- Post from: Robert Yawson

WORTHINGTON — While the fourth annual Bioscience Conference was transpiring at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, an outreach program of sorts was taking place at Worthington High School.

Mahri Monson, a research assistant with the Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy — part of the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs — spoke to high school students Thursday afternoon about how math and science education can play an important role in their futures. Monson’s appearance in the school was sponsored by Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp., which coordinated the conference.

“Glenn Thuringer (WREDC manager) approached me after I was presenting with the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota in front of a House committee (in St. Paul),? Monson explained. “He thought it would be interesting for me to come and talk some to students around this Bioscience Conference, and I said I would be honored to do so.?

Monson worked with Thuringer and Jodi Landgaard of Prairie Holdings Group to arrange her Thursday classroom discussions at WHS. Landgaard worked with WHS principal Scott Backer to arrange how Monson’s presentation would fit best; she also appeared with Monson to discuss job shadowing and internship possibilities within the Worthington community.

On Thursday afternoon, Monson spoke before ninth-graders in John Goedtel’s careers class, explaining at one point on how math and science can pertain to such contrasting careers as cosmetology and nuclear medicine.

“I guess I was trying to make whatever connections I could to math and science and engineering and technology,? Monson said. “I know one of the concerns we have on a national level is that our students aren’t making as much progress in those arenas as those in other countries. I’d like to see people pursue those areas … and keep all kinds of opportunities open to them.?

Monson added that Backer felt her appearance was also important to students — and the school — from another standpoint. “It shows them that what they’re working on today is relevant, and it has meaning to their future,? she said.

On Thursday evening at the Bioscience Conference, Monson also gave a presentation on her work with BioBusiness Alliance, covering her work in areas such as renewable energy, biomaterials, animal health, medical devices and others.

“Glenn had wanted me to address the idea of convergence, or new opportunities created by developing synergies between historically distinct disciplines,? Monson said. “The tool that BioBusiness Alliance has used is System Dynamics Modeling. … I see this tool as a way to look at complex problems and finding points of greatest leverage for change in whatever system you’re working. It just kind of gives us a tool to think in more of a convergence-minded way, or to look at things from an integrative perspective.?

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs or the University of Minnesota. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota or the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.