Students able to explore careers at conference

WORTHINGTON -- The fourth annual Bioscience Conference begins today, and organizers are hoping the proceedings make favorable impressions on those considering a career in the industry.

WORTHINGTON -- The fourth annual Bioscience Conference begins today, and organizers are hoping the proceedings make favorable impressions on those considering a career in the industry.

Glenn Thuringer, manager of Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. -- which is coordinating the two-day event -- said the conference is a great way for college students to learn about the industry and potentially meet leaders in the field.

"There's going to be upwards of 70 college students attending, mostly from Minnesota West, but from a couple of different campuses," Thuringer said.

The conference, which will take place in the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Fine Arts Theater, begins at 12:30 p.m. today with a welcome from Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh. Ron Wood, president of Minnesota West, will give a brief explanation of the WIRED (Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development) grant awarded last year to 36 Minnesota counties.

A panel discussion titled "Renewables: Growing It, Converting It, Utilizing It" will take place from 12:45 to 3 p.m. Ryan Mahlberg, a biotechnology instructor at Minnesota West's Worthington campus, hopes his students will find the session informative.


"I've steered them toward a couple (of discussions)," Mahlberg said Wednesday afternoon. "I'd like them to go to the renewable one -- this is kind of an irregular timing for them to go to class, so I've given them some options. There's a session I've encouraged them to go to from 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Friday ("Bioscience: Research at Work"), as well as Gov. (Tim) Pawlenty on Friday morning.

Pawlenty, the conference's keynote speaker, will address attendees at 8:30 a.m. Friday, and then follow immediately by hosting his weekly hour-long radio show live from Minnesota West. After Pawlenty's program, the nationally syndicated radio program, "AgriTalk," will air live from the Bioscience Conference, with several Worthington individuals slated to be interviewed.

Mahlberg said he has approximately 12 students who plan to attend the conference. His father, Rolf Mahlberg -- an ag instructor at the college -- as well as Minnesota West chemistry instructor Steven Schultz will also have students there, he added.

"I'm hoping they are open to some of the areas of the conference we don't necessarily talk about on a day-to-day basis that they can get excited about," Mahlberg said.

Malhberg also looks forward to attending the event on a personal level.

"It's nice to make connections with professionals in this industry that I wouldn't make otherwise, which may lead to future collaborations," he said. "And just seeing that there's support within this industry at an educational level, industrial level and professional level ... that's great for the students."

Today's other sessions are "Commercialization & Business Incubator/Accelerators (3:30 to 4:30 p.m.) and "New Technology" (4:30 to 5 p.m. and 5:45 to 6:15 p.m.) A presentation from Mahri Monson, a research assistant for the Center of Science, Technology and Public Institute with the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, will be from 6:15 to 6:30 p.m.

A social reception sponsored by the Daily Globe will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. today at the Historic Dayton House. Friday's itinerary includes Pawlenty's address, the "AgriTalk" program and two more sessions, including one titled, "Education -- Industry Workforce Development."

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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