Hormel Institute Looks to Future Scientists

Posted at: 03/25/2014 6:32 PM
By: Dan Conradt

They're on the forefront of scientific research.

And on Tuesday, some of the scientists from the Hormel Institute in Austin shared their stories with students who might one day push those boundaries to new levels.

"We need scientists, engineers, mathematicians in our country, and these are the people who are going to be those," said Hormel Institute section leader Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe.

It was a chance for some of today's scientists to share their stories with some of tomorrow's.

"Talking to them about career development and thinking about becoming a scientist," Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe explained.

“The kids get to get in there, hands-on activity, do the actual measurements themselves," added Ellis Middle School science teacher Jaime Meyer.

“It helps because it's like a perspective from someone who's actually in the work force, someone who actually works in that field," Ellis eighth grader Logan Braaten told us.

"Seeing the scientists and anybody outside of their jobs and relating to them and letting them do the same stuff they do on a daily basis is really a great experience for these students," teacher Jaime Meyer explained.

And it *could* be an experience that plants a seed.

"I'm trying to get across to them that a lot of the things that they're doing now are what they're going to need for their careers," said Hormel Institute researcher Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe.

And that's not limited to their school work. "Things like gaming have a huge impact on how they think and how they do problem solving," Hinchcliffe added.

And for the seventh and eighth graders who spent the day with some of the country’s preeminent medical researchers, it’s not to early to start planning for college … or a career.

"I don't think it's ever too early, especially to get them excited about science and see the different jobs available out there," Ellis science teacher Jaime Meyer said.

“We think about it, and we just kind of go through colleges and look at the differences between kinds of colleges" said eighth grader Katie Condit.

“For these new high-tech jobs it takes a lot of planning and preparation," Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe said.

But if you’re in seventh or eighth grade and you don’t know yet what you want to do with your life, Katie Condit said that’s okay:

“Yeah, because there's time to think about it."

The Hormel Institute's outreach program also includes a day each year on which sixth graders tour the facility, and take-part in hands-on projects overseen by institute scientists.