Snapshot: Celebration of research

Volume 9, Issue 1
A student works alongside a researcher in a Mayo Clinic lab

A student works alongside a researcher in a Mayo Clinic lab.

Take 209 high school science students and add 29 teachers from 29 schools in southern Minnesota. Season with just enough information and some motivated mentors. Mix well and expose to research for six hours, including over lunch.

What you get is a portion of young people who will experience something that just might fuel their interest in a career in biomedical research.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester hosts the Celebration of Research every two years. Through the Celebration of Research program, research leaders host students who have an interest in science and expose them to a range of career options in biomedical research. The event has inspired young people who've ended up as researchers and physicians.

This year's theme, Straight to the Heart, featured Mayo Clinic cardiologist Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., who talked about his research and genetic discoveries involving sudden cardiac death in athletes.

After Dr. Ackerman's presentation, it was off to the labs. Each student visited three of 21 research labs across many disciplines at Mayo Clinic for a hands-on experience. There also were chats with graduate students over lunch and a take-away T-shirt.

It's not a lot of time to spend with these students, but apparently it's enough.

One of the tour guides this year was Katherine L. Knorr, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Mayo Clinic. She was on the tour as a high school junior in 2001. During her visit back then, she heard a graduate student talking about the joint degree program over lunch, and the rest is history. Or the future.