Helping Others through Science and Service

Science has been an important part of my life for a long time. One of my motivations for being a scientist was to help people. As scientists, there are many ways that we make a difference. For example, doing research that reveals information about basic biological processes can provide insight into how a disease might wreak havoc, and in turn facilitate drug design and effective disease treatments. I can say from experience that it’s especially rewarding to go beyond the impact of science to assist someone in the community face to face.

A St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry host helps a client to shop for food.

Just over 5 years ago, I started volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul Madison Food Pantry, the largest in Dane County, Wisconsin, which serves an average of about 400 families per week1. The pantry uses a customer-choice model in which clients are allotted points to shop for food, allowing them to make selections that preserve their dignity and ethnic diversity. The food pantry has a small staff, so volunteers are vital to keep things running. I serve as a “host” to clients and assist them to shop around the pantry for the items that they need. It has been such a positive experience for me. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not changing the world, but I’m helping someone to get essential items to make ends meet for their family. Tough times can happen to anyone, and it takes a great deal of courage to ask for help. My goal is to make the experience for clients as positive as possible by being cheerful, courteous and respectful during their time at the pantry. If my help can make a person forget even for a moment that they have fallen on hard times, then I call that a win!

A desire to make a difference in the community through volunteerism is one of the characteristics that I really like about working at Promega. At a recent company meeting, employees were asked to share how they serve the community. Activities ranged from assisting those with disabilities to participate in athletic activities to taking care of shelter animals to starting a non-profit for children in need. There were many more! Employees helped those in their local communities and even those across the globe from where they live. It was so inspiring to hear about my colleagues’ experiences of serving others.

Promega has a mechanism for employees to apply for time off to volunteer through the Promega in Action program. Continue reading

10 Bold Summer Activities for Science Lovers

1781140_lAt 25 I often find myself looking for exciting new ideas for enjoying an evening with friends and family that extend beyond the typical dinner, drinks or a movie. Over the three years I have worked at Promega, my interest for scientific discovery has been amplified by the expertise and enthusiasm of my colleagues. In appreciation for science-lovers everywhere, here is a short list of activities for those looking for unique ways of having fun with science this summer.

  1. RECRUIT A PARTNER TO HELP YOU COOK UP DELICIOUS MOLECULAR TREATS

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Paying it Forward: A Promega Employee’s Experience With Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County

Jessica and II could quote all kinds of facts, figures and studies that support the importance of positive adult influences in a child’s life and the impact of mentoring relationships. This is one case, however, where I believe you will learn a lot more reading about one volunteer’s personal experience. This month, I will tell you about Amy Kruchten, a Promega employee who serves our community in a number of ways. Amy gives us a brief description of her work at Second Harvest Food Pantry and with the Madison Coalition of the Elderly. She goes into more detail about her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County (Amy is on the left in the picture with Bucky Badger, her Little Sister is on the right).

1. How long have you worked here at Promega and what do you do?

Six years, I take care of the [document] scanning for several departments throughout the company.

2. Briefly describe your volunteer work.
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