Maeve McDonnell, Chloe Morrison, Samantha Janssen, and Madeline Champa, with Jolene Bucher Jones (an M.B.A. student from Augsburg).

Four of our undergraduate College students have completed the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, a partnership between business and education to provide real-world opportunities for students who are potentially uncovering innovations that will have a positive impact on healthcare and the Minnesota economy. Each year teams of biology and business students from Saint Mary’s and other Minnesota Private College Council member schools spend several months researching and analyzing the scientific and economic potential of projects submitted by Mayo Clinic professionals.

This year our multidisciplinary team included biology students Maeve McDonnell and Samantha Janssen working with business students Chloe Morrison and Maddy Champa, along with an M.B.A. student from Augsburg. The group conducted extensive research into a molecular biology-related innovation proposed by a Mayo physician. Their analysis of the scientific elements and the potential business prospects was presented to Mayo Clinic Ventures, the inventions arm of Mayo. Staff complimented students for summarizing a complicated proposal in lay terms, and expressed appreciation for the research and recommendations made on the business side.

Now in its 11th year, the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program continues to be a model for student experiential learning. The student selection is competitive and the program expectations are high and professional. Students must be able to do extensive literature searches, often into areas in which they have no experience; be able to “translate” their searches into terms that the team and their prospective audience will understand; and be able to write and present well.