2017-2018 Mayo Innovation Scholars

Four students at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University recently concluded their work in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (MISP)

CSB junior accounting and finance major Morgan Craig (Alexandria, Minnesota), SJU senior integrative health science major Donovan Inniss (Nassau, Bahamas), SJU senior global business leadership major Matthew Miller (Annandale, Minnesota) and CSB senior biology major Kristina Rudin (Maple Grove, Minnesota) presented project research.

The interdisciplinary program provides research opportunities to teams of undergraduates from Minnesota private colleges, under the guidance of select master’s-level business students. Students in this collaborative program work at the interface of science, medicine and business. Through teamwork, they learn the practical aspects involved in bringing an idea to the marketplace. 

The CSB and SJU students worked as a team on the project on campus throughout the 2017-18 academic year. They presented their findings in March at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and in a written report. On average, each student put in roughly 175 hours of work during the program.

Support and praise from advisors

The students were supported by Andrew Tewksbury, an MBA student at the University of St. Thomas. CSB and SJU faculty members Lisa Lindgren, associate professor of global business leadership, and Jennifer Schaefer, associate professor of biology, served as project advisers. Lindsey Gunnerson Gutsch, program assistant in the Student Success Center at CSB and SJU, provided administrative support.

“The MISP requires students from different majors and academic disciplines to work together to study a real-world innovation from both scientific and business perspectives,” Lindgren said. “Over the five months of the program, they become a cohesive team in which the individual team members each gains a new perspective to examine an issue.”

“This year’s team did a great job of taking a project that was especially undefined and constructing clear criteria for evaluating and suggesting improvements to the product,” Schaefer said. “The interdisciplinary and ambiguity of the Mayo Scholars program are tied as the two best aspects of MISP for students. Both challenge students to become better academically, professionally and as people.”

Now in its 12th year, MISP aims to assist high-achieving students from private colleges in Minnesota gain real-life experience of innovation and commercialization under the auspices of Mayo Clinic Ventures. The students help in the assessment of new products submitted by Mayo researchers. 

The program was designed in 2006 by John Meslow, a retired Medtronic executive. Together with Mayo Clinic Ventures and the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC), Meslow created an innovative model for student experiential learning.

Mayo Clinic staff members and program administrators were impressed by the quality of the students' work, including the project’s inventor.

In total, there were 11 presentations over two days by MPCC member institutions.