Beyond the pandemic: a virtual summit on innovation in STEM

Join us May 12-13, 2021 for Beyond the pandemic: a virtual summit on innovation in STEM. The summit is the capstone event of the STEM Meets the Challenge of the Pandemic project. Presenters from 3M, Medtronic, Bolton & Menk and the Minnesota Department of Health will highlight the innovative approaches and new connections that they are using to meet the challenge of the pandemic.

Our speakers  will also discuss what they’ve learned during the past 14 months, where they are headed, and how to continue working together to address the STEM needs in our state and beyond. The past year has spurred rapid innovation, collaboration, and a shifting of skill sets and priorities. That leads all of us to the questions of what’s next for STEM education and hiring, and how will we continue to build a diverse and inclusive STEM ecosystem.

The summit will be open to all. Sessions will have particular relevance for:

  • STEM educators
  • STEM professionals
  • STEM undergraduate and graduate students

STEM educators are invited to live stream and use the summit’s content in their classrooms. The Summit will use a web-based service that integrates with Zoom for all sessions, presentations and break-out rooms.

There are two registration options for the summit: a free pass which includes access to all live programs May 12-13 and a full pass ($50) which includes documentation follow-up for education credits (i.e. PDHs, CEUs, etc.) and access to any available program recordings. Not all sessions will be recorded.


May 12th

May 13th

10:00 AM

Opening and Welcome

Opening and Welcome

10:30 - 11:20 AM

3M Opening Keynote: Responding, Learning, and Adapting to the COVID-19 Pandemic

MN Department of Health Opening Keynote: Welcome to Your Public Health Crash Course

11:20 - 11:30 AM

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Panel: The Future STEM Workforce

Panel with Boston Scientific: STEM and Health Equity

12:15 - 1:00 PM

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

1:00 - 1:45 PM

Medtronic Keynote: Medtronic and the Pandemic:  the mission and a love for science keeps this engineer going!

Bolton & Menk Keynote: Growth Amid a Pandemic: lessons learned

1:45 - 2:00 PM

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

2:00 - 2:45 PM

The New STEM Section of Minnesota Compass with Wilder Research

Panel: ElevateHER- How to recruit and retain the best and brightest minds in the industry + Equity and inclusion in workforce development

2:45 - 3:00 PM

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

Session Transition, Attendee Chats, Sponsor “Booth” Visits

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Panel: Social Entrepreneurship During the Pandemic

Panel: Beyond Distance Learning - What’s Next in STEM Education & The Power of Mentoring

Program Descriptions and Presenters

Wednesday, May 12

Responding, learning, and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 global crisis disrupted work and affected where we work and the way we work. It changed how we collaborate and who we need to collaborate with to address the needs of the pandemic. Uncommon cross-sector and government-industry partnerships and collaborations rapidly formed early on. Such approaches were needed to bridge scientific knowledge and to develop and deploy solutions at greater scale and speed. This adaptation accelerated emerging trends and paved a way to new norms. Raymond will share 3M’s innovation model and experience and learning from rapid response and adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Raymond

Raymond Chiu leads Research and Development for 3M Health Care, one of four business groups that comprise 3M Company, a science-based company headquartered in St. Paul‚ Minnesota.   He champions advancing technology platforms and commercialization of New Products and Solutions that enable healthcare professionals improve quality of patient care and make better health possible.

Raymond is a commercialization leader with hands-on experience in product commercialization and leading high-performance global teams across multiple industries, geographies, and diverse end-market customers.  Prior to his current role, he led global research and development at 3M Divisions in Health Care and Transportation and Electronics.   He and his teams delivered differentiated solutions based on novel materials, and processes ranging from novel glass ceramics, durable polymers, novel skin adhesives, and biomaterials.  He advocates for sustainability and champions solutions design to advance a circular economy and to reduce our environmental footprint.

Raymond believes in giving back and developing leaders.  He is active in mentoring and championing diversity and inclusion.  He is active on 3M’s Employee Resource Networks. He currently serves as the executive sponsor for 3M’s Technical Women Leadership Forum.

Chiu earned a Ph.D. in Ceramics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a dual B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences & Engineering from University of California at Berkeley.

Raymond Chiu, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President |
Research & Development

Panel: The Future STEM Workforce

The pandemic changed the way we work overnight, requiring employees to learn new skills and change the way they do business. With the pandemic behind us, what changes will persist? What new skills will be valued by STEM employers? Join this panel discussion with local STEM leaders.

About Tom

Tom Lorentz is the President of US and Canadian Operations for IDOM.  IDOM is a privately held, engineering and consulting company with more than 3800 professionals and 45 offices around the world, having headquarters in Bilbao, Spain.  He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology, with Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Master of Science degrees with a structural engineering focus.  Tom is also an alumnus of the University’s Carlson School of Management.

Tom’s professional career has been focused on projects in heavy industry and science.   His personal area of expertise is the design and evaluation of complex structures in the fields of Oil &Gas, Power Generation, Manufacturing, Science and Astronomy.

Tom is a registered professional engineer in 28 States and 4 Canadian Provinces.  He is an active member of several local and national professional and standards associations, and a past president of the Minnesota branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers.  He is currently the Chair of the University of Minnesota Department of Civil, Environmental and GeoEngineering professional advisory board.

About Wilson

Wilson Garland is the Executive Director of the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence.  Over the last five years he has led the Center in its efforts to build and support the IT workforce in Minnesota by expanding interest and access among students, enhancing tech education across the state, and engaging with tech employers to ensure that Minnesota State graduates match their talent needs.  Prior to joining Minnesota State he spent over a dozen years in various other higher education leadership roles and co-founded a mobile learning software company.

Thomas E. Lorentz, P.E.
President – US Operations

Wilson Garland
Executive Director, Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence


Opportunity+ WSB: At WSB, we believe in helping to build the workforce of the future. We launched Opportunity+ to create a pathway to a rewarding career in civil engineering. Our unique training program puts people on a straightforward, step-by-step fast track toward an exciting career. It is a chance to receive training, skill building and networking necessary for a long-term career as a surveyor or construction materials technician in the civil engineering industry.

About Bret

Bret Weiss is President and CEO of WSB, a design and consulting firm specializing in engineering, community planning, environmental and construction services. Weiss is one of the founders of WSB and has worked in the civil engineering community for more than 30 years. Drawing on this experience and expertise, Bret was appointed by the Governor to the Minnesota Department of Transportation Connected and Automated Vehicles Advisory Council. Bret’s passion extends beyond his industry into the broader business community through his role on the Minnesota Chamber Board of Directors, the Minnesota Chamber Foundation and to the arts by serving on the Hennepin Theatre Trust Board of Directors. Bret and WSB are committed toward improving industry diversity through WSB’s education platform, Opportunity+. Bret is a passionate leader who is committed to his staff and clients. He believes that a strong culture drives results and he inspires his team to discover thoughtful and creative solutions to infrastructure challenges.

Bret Weiss
President & CEO


Medtronic and the Pandemic:  The mission and a love for science keeps this engineer going!

There is nothing like living through a global pandemic to push one to new limits.  As a company we figured out how fast we could make ventilators.  As people we hunkered down and adjusted our priorities.  As an engineer, I became more steadfast in my conviction that engineering is the right spot for me.  During this talk I will share my journey as a professional engineer.

About Kimberly

Kim Chaffin is a Sr. Distinguished Scientist, Bakken Fellow and Technical Fellow in the Corporate Research at Medtronic.  Kim is a recognized expert in material thermodynamics and characterization, especially as it relates to structure-property relationships that govern long-term stability and performance.  Kim has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota (Advisor:  Frank S. Bates) and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Minnesota.  She is an inventor on 20 issued patents and an author on many peer reviewed publications.  In late 2016, Kim returned to Minneapolis after a four-year assignment in Switzerland.  Kim’s husband, Paul, is the President of Molex’s Medical and Pharmaceutical Solutions business headquartered in Hudson, WI.  Together they have two children, Cole, a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and Julia, a High School junior who is interested in pursuing a STEM pathway at university. Kim joined Medtronic in 1999.

Kimberly A. Chaffin, P.E., Ph.D.
Sr. Distinguished Scientist | Technical Fellow | Bakken Fellow


The New STEM Section of Minnesota Compass

STEM education is critical to Minnesota’s prosperity, developing people with skills needed to meet the demands of a 21st century economy. But is Minnesota preparing its residents with adequate STEM competences to succeed? Minnesota Compass ( is a community indicators project that measures progress and inspires action on topics that matter to our shared quality of life. We recently partnered with Boston Scientific to develop a framework of data and resources that help us monitor and support STEM education and the STEM economy in Minnesota. The newly revised STEM section of Minnesota Compass tracks 15 key measures of STEM identity, interest, and achievement. In addition, strategies for improving access and removing barriers are identified to promote action and increase alignment across and among STEM sectors and stakeholders. This session will provide an overview of the newly revised STEM section of Minnesota Compass and how its ecosystem framework can inform STEM stakeholders and coordinated efforts throughout the state.

About Allison

As Project Director of Minnesota Compass, Allison works with a team of researchers to describe and measure progress on topics related to our shared quality of life in Minnesota. She has particular interest in demographic trends, employment and workforce development, and immigration. Allison also serves as President of the Community Indicators Consortium, an international organization that supports communities’ efforts to use data to improve quality of life.

Allison joined Wilder Research in the spring of 2012. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Luther College, her master’s degree from Michigan State University, and completed her doctoral coursework in sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

Allison lives with her family in Saint Paul’s Como Park neighborhood. Outside of the office, she’s likely to be playing with her 6-year-old, training her rescue pup, or looking for some quiet space to sit and knit.

Allison Liuzzi
Research Manager
Minnesota Compass Project Director


Panel: Social Entrepreneurship during the Pandemic

Social Entrepreneurship: Large companies, research universities, and public organizations have mobilized in major ways to bring testing, vaccinations, medical devices, and safety products to the world in response to COVID-19. Individuals have made a difference as well. In this panel presentation, you’ll meet individuals who identified a need and found a way to make a difference.

Irondale High School Robotics Team COVID-19 Response – 3D Printing Face Shields

During the month of April in 2020, KnightKrawler Robotics students used 24 3D printers, running 60 hours a week, to print over 5,000 face shield visors. In conjunction with other companies, teams and organizations that donated additional 3D printed and injection molded visors, as well as corporations providing 3/4 of a ton of clear plastic visor sheeting, KnightKrawler donated over 35,000 face shields to people who requested them through their website and social media.

Scott Davis
Controls  | 10 Years working at QONQR


Maria Johnson
Public Relations Captain


U of M Students Create Gowns for Frontline Workers

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Anna put her design skills to work by helping create the “Gown-4-U”, an emergency use FDA-approved polyethylene PPE gown. A “Gown-4-U” was created in response to a plea for help from the M-Health Fairview Hospital System when a shortage in gowns occurred. As the design team lead, Anna worked with 12 other engineering students to design, prototype, iterate, and test the PPE gown design based on clinician feedback. In collaboration with other students working on the project and professors at the University of Minnesota, the team designed the gown, sourced material locally, found a manufacturer, and started production of the gown in just over 2 weeks’ time!

About Anna

Anna Karos is a junior studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.  She previously has interned at Smith’s Medical and will be a systems engineering intern this summer at Medtronic.  Active in several design projects through the student group Engineering World Health, Anna has built up her prototyping skills by creating medical devices for Third World countries that have been submitted in the EWH national competition.

Their project website can be found here:

Learn more about Anna and her fellow students’ work here (hyperlink the article:

Anna Karos
Biomedical Engineering Student


Apple Valley Schools Case Study: Educational innovators meeting demand for PPE

Apple Valley High School along with Valley Middle School of STEM quickly recognized the unfulfilled need for PPE in our local community and saw that we could respond using our special fabrication learning lab facilities at our school to respond to this need.  We received a tremendous outpouring of financial support from local companies and individuals allowing us to purchase the needed raw materials to produce well over 5000 face shields and other PPE.  These were distributed to area senior living facilities and a variety of health care providers.  Many of these facilities simply could not gain these desperately needed face shield through any other source. 

About Team Members

Chris Lee is a long-time physic teacher who took the lead five years ago to develop the Apple Valley High School fabrication lab facilities and curriculum.  Chris provides a dynamic set of STEM learning opportunities for many students.

Jim Lynch runs a program called E3 STEM at AVHS designed to provide students with many opportunities to explore careers in STEM field and receive strong STEM career coaching while gaining these experiences.

Brian Martin work with others at Valley Middle School to design, build and run the fabrication lab spaces.  Brian teaches a variety of STEM courses utilizing these facilities to provide dynamic and engaging learning experiences.

Vicki Tobroxen has been a key partner in supporting the development of our STEM programming at Apple Valley High School.  Vicki serves on our STEM Advisory board as well as providing career exploration opportunities for our students interested in healthcare careers.  Augustana Regent of Burnsville was one of the key recipients of the PPE produced in this effort.

Chris Lee, AVHS Fab Lab Coordinator & Teacher
Jim Lynch, AVHS STEM Coordinator
Brian Martin, Valley Middle School of STEM Teacher
Vicki M. Tobroxen, Executive Director, Augustana Care Regent at Burnsville

Using Your Network to Assist in a Pandemic

We are reimagining what’s possible in 3D printing, reaching for new levels of realism, accuracy, speed, and performance. Learn how Stratasys innovations help the world’s leading companies, students and institutions gain agility and competitive advantage.

About Jesse

Jesse Roitenberg is a former math and science teacher who joined Stratasys and the additive manufacturing industry 15 years ago.  He has a BA from the University of Minnesota and has held positions in marketing, channel sales and currently is the Americas Education Manager and Education Segment Lead for Stratasys.

Jesse Roitenberg
Americas Education Manager


Thursday, May 13

MN Dept. of Health – Welcome to Your Public Health Crash Course

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our work in significant ways. Hear how the Minnesota Department of Health responded to the call and continues that effort. Myra Kunas and Tom Hogan are two of the many leaders at MDH who answered that call and will provide their perspective on the importance of relationships in a science-based field.

About Myra

Myra Kunas has been serving as the lab director for the state of Minnesota Public Health Lab since May 2020. She has worked in private and public labs since obtaining her Masters of Science degree in Earth and Ecosystem Sciences from Tulane University. She lives in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul with her husband, son and cat. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, and designing and building furniture.

About Tom

Tom Hogan is the Environmental Public Health Division Director within the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). He directs the strategy, policy, education, relationship and compliance activities of state wide programs focused on: risk analysis, drinking water, food/pools/lodging, climate adaptation, indoor air quality and radiation. Since early 2020 he has been assigned as a Deputy Incident Manager in MDH’s Incident Command Response to the COVID-19 pandemic, responsible for managing the available response resources. Prior to his state service he was in private industry including environmental consulting.

Myra Kunas
Director, Interim | Public Health Laboratory


Tom Hogan
Director | Environmental Health Division


STEM and Health Equity with Boston Scientific

The Close The Gap Mission is to close the health inequity gap for women and people of color through improving health inequity awareness, empowering healthcare providers, and increasing clinical representation.  In this session, we will walk through our journey as technical scientists and engineers and share the opportunities our disciplines have allowed us to impact quality of care of women and people of color.

About Trish

I was born and raised in Michigan, studied Chemical Engineering at Hampton University and University of Alabama.  I was recruited by 3M and moved to MN in 1994 where I built a 10 year R&D career in consumer goods.  I joined BSC in  2009  driving deliverables in Research and Development and Acquisition and Integration. I joined the Human Resources in 2019 as a Health Equity Consultant and completed my MBA in Marketing with a Digital Certificate in May of 2020.  I have three children 20, 18, 14, and two puppies. We enjoy outdoors activities and travel.

About Jeri'Ann

JERI’ANN HILLER, Ph.D. is a Health Equity Manager at Boston Scientific. During her tenure at BSC, she has created a legacy of innovation in processes, methods and solutions to help people get well.  Her significant contributions to the formulation development and characterization of the SYNERGY™ stent earned her one of BSC’s top scientific contribution awards named after one of BSC’s founders, John Abele, the John Abele Science & Technology award. She has been recognized for outstanding achievements in STEM with a Women of Color Magazine/STEM Conference Technology Rising Star award and a MedTech Boston 2016 40 under 40 Healthcare Innovators Award. She earned both her B.S. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in materials science and engineering.

Trish Solliday
Sr. Health Equity Consultant – Close The Gap


Jeri’Ann Hiller, Ph.D
Health Equity Manager


Growth Amid a Pandemic: Lessons Learned

Bolton & Menk continued to make an impact on STEM pre- and post-COVID through STEM education and recruiting. Our approach to STEM education, recruiting, and onboarding looked much different after our state went virtual.  The drastic change brought both successes and challenges. Join us as we review the biggest impacts and challenges we faced during the new virtual world and how community partnerships are helping us bridge gaps in STEM education.

About Tim

Tim is a principal water resources engineer with more than 14 years of experience.  He specializes in water quality improvements, regional drainage planning, water resources funding, and partnership development. Growing up in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, Tim found a career with which he could protect these important resources. He is passionate about water resources education and volunteers in a variety STEM events.

About Tonya

Tonya leads Bolton & Menk’s talent management work group. She began her career in 1998 and specializes in leadership and employee development, facilitates safety initiatives, recruits new talent, handles compliance oversight, and has a passion for process improvement. Tonya sees the passion Bolton & Menk has for their clients and employees, and the desire to serve the communities they live in. This is what drew her to join the team in 2016. Tonya says, “The greatest part of my job is seeing people develop in their career and making a difference in the communities we serve. I love seeing passion at work.”

Tim Olson, P.E., CFM
Principal Water Resources Engineer

Bolton & Menk, Inc. Logo

Tonya Hobbie, PHR, SHRM-CP, CPPM
Director of Talent Management

Bolton & Menk, Inc. Logo

Panel: ElevateHER- How to recruit and retain the best and brightest minds in the industry + Equity and inclusion in workforce development

This panel will include a discussion on the ElevateHER initiative to better the future of the AEC industry. Founded by ZweigGroup, it is a commitment to embrace, promote, and ensure equal opportunities for everyone in the AEC industry regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Additionally, Leiataua Dr. Robert Jon Peterson will join the panel to discuss equity & inclusion and its connection with workforce development, and how programs like ElevateHer can impact equity.

About Shibani

Shibani Bisson is an Associate and Senior Project Manager with WSB and currently serves as a city engineer. She has over 20 years of experience as a municipal engineer for several communities. and was part of the inaugural ElevateHER class of 2020.

About Christy

Christy Zweig Niehues has a long history of involvement with management consulting and the AEC industry. As Zweig Group’s current director of research and eCommerce, she enjoys telling the story of the data behind business management trends and metrics in the AEC industry.  Christy has a passion for online marketing and has worked with many AEC Firms to find the best processes and methods to drive new and repeat business for their individual organizations.  Christy is a member of Zweig Group’s ElevateHER team and is currently researching gender disparity in AEC business metrics, while working with ElevateHER teams to find ways to promote a more diverse and equitable industry.   Christy has also researched and written for Zweig Group’s media platform, civil + structural ENGINEER magazine.

Her experience also includes work at The Sustainability Consortium, as a licensed Real Estate Agent, and she runs a horse boarding and training operation for off the track thoroughbreds.  She holds a B.A. in English and an MBA from the University of Arkansas.

Shibani Bisson, P.E.
Sr. Project Manager


Christy Zweig Niehues
Director, Research And Ecommerce


About Robert

Leiataua Dr. Robert Jon Peterson is co-owner, founder, and President of TE2: Education and Engineering Consulting, LLC.  Dr. Peterson’s 20 years of educational experience as a Teacher, Coach, Principal, and Administrator in Minnesota informs his professional practice.  Dr. Peterson is also a MN licensed Superintendent, Principal, and Teacher and offers a distinct set of knowledge and skills to his clients which include schools, districts, and non-profit organizations.   Lastly, Dr. Peterson is a published author, recording artist, and guest lecturer at the University of Saint Mary’s and uses those experiences to inform how to best meet his client’s needs.

Leiataua Dr. Robert Jon Peterson


Panel: Beyond Distance Learning – What’s next in STEM education & The Power of Mentoring

Hear multiple perspectives–from STEM education leaders about what’s next in STEM education and the value of professional role models for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and other STEM professionals.

About Jason

Jason Bruns is the Director of the Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence. He received his B.S from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato. He spent 20+ years in industry successfully serving in engineering, operations, and manufacturing leadership roles at various companies including GE. Mr. Bruns now directs the Center activities as it pertains to engineering education, industry connections, and program collaborations. He enjoys spending time with his wife and his four daughters, along with their youth social events.

About Maureen

Maureen Tubbiola is currently serving as the interim associate dean of the college of science and engineering at St. Cloud State University.  She is also a professor of biological sciences and former department chair at St. Cloud State University.

She began teaching as a graduate student and has held full-time faculty positions at the university level since 1995. These positions include teaching at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a tenured position at the University of Great Falls, Montana, a semester with St. Cloud State in Alnwick, England, and her position at St. Cloud State. Her research field is the neuroendocrinology of reproduction. Her professional experience also includes work as an electron microscopist/histologist at the University of Utah, and post-doctoral researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

Dr. Tubbiola has taught a wide range of university students; introductory non-science majors, freshman-level biology courses, upper-division undergraduate biology courses, and graduate students in biological sciences. She teaches many courses related to human biology, including anatomy and physiology, and advises students pursuing careers related to medicine.

Jason Bruns, BSME, MBA


Maureen Tubbiola
Interim Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering


About Paul

Paul Strykowski is the George Taylor Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin — Madison (1982), and his MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Yale University (1985, 1986). Dr. Strykowski also has served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the College of Science and Engineering since 2007. In this role he is broadly responsible for undergraduate students in twelve engineering majors, the physical sciences and mathematics, as well as computer science and data science. In undergraduate Student Services he works closely with a leadership team responsible for Career Services, Academic Advising, and Collegiate Life activities, as well as working with CSE departments on curricular matters.

About Lana

As the Coon Rapids High School Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Program Coordinator, my role includes developing industry connections and partnerships. Students in our grade 9-12 program take a series of focused coursework in Biomedical Sciences or Engineering.  We are always striving to link industry professionals with students in our program through research project mentors, career panel discussions, volunteers to help with resumes and mock interviews, and so forth!  Our students thrive on connections with professionals!

About Leah

Leah is a rising senior studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. She currently serves as the UMN Society of Women Engineers Secretary, and a laboratory intern at Cargill. Leah likes to spend her free time on her bike, playing wiffle-ball or jamming out to Hamilton.

Paul Strykowski
Associate Dean

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Lana Rice
Curriculum Integration Coordinator


Leah Baker
Chemical Engineering Student, Society of Women Engineers Student Chapter Secretary, University of Minnesota


On-Demand Content

The following sessions will be pre-recorded and available as on-demand content during the summit.

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)

Using Civil Engineering as a Gateway to STEM Outreach Everyone uses roads, bridges, transit, sidewalks, and other forms of transportation to get them where they need to go every day. At the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) we leverage those assets that are “hidden in plain sight” to help inspire and encourage the next generation of civil engineers. From the Bridge UP! Curriculum to a host of other resources, MnDOT partners with schools, associations, consultants, and others to get students excited about real-world transportation planning, design and construction. This presentation will provide an overview of our outreach efforts as well as our resources and activities available to K-12 educators and the public, and how anyone could utilize these resources to help influence interest in STEM fields.

Marcia Lochner
STEM Education and Outreach Program Manager


COVID-19 and In-vitro Diagnostics (IVD)

The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted the criticality of In-vitro diagnostics (IVD) in testing and diagnosing people with SARS-COV-2 infections. IVD is an exciting space for STEM majors, with cutting edge technologies and is an attractive job market for science and engineering graduates. St Cloud State University offers courses in Basic and Advanced IVDs and is taught by adjunct faculty with deep experience in this space. 

About Raghu

Raghu Jainapur is the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and formerly the Vice President of Quality at the Healthcare division at Ecolab. Raghu obtained an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US FDA for the use of a novel technology to decontaminate N-95 respirators. He is a board member and adjunct faculty at St. Cloud State University.

Raghu previously worked at Abbott and Roche in leadership roles with a focus on high-risk medical devices and IVDs.

Raghu’s academic credentials include a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Purdue University. Raghu also completed a Leadership Development Program at the London Business School.

Raghu Jainapur