Volunteer Spotlight

At the heart of Making Science Make Sense® is the dedication of our employee volunteers. They provide hands-on science experiences through STEM-focused activities, classroom visits, teacher workshops and community events. Volunteering can have a life-changing impact! We are proud to shine a light on the volunteer activity of our employees.

Turning Personal Passions into Inspiring Actions

Volunteer Spotlight
Shakopee MSMS volunteers and local 4-H chapter students.

STEM Career Exploration Opens New Doors for Local 4-H Students

At Bayer, our employees are keenly aware that science matters. But it’s not enough for us just to understand how science creates fulfilling career opportunities. As a Life Science industry leader, innovator, contributor and influencer, Bayer also has a responsibility to help educate and inspire today’s youth to become – and remain – interested in STEM-related careers. Through our Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) initiative, that is exactly what Bayer seeks to achieve through its diverse partnerships and outreach programs.

In collaboration with the National 4-H Council, Bayer has created the new Science Matters program to engage today’s youth. Its focus is to equip students with the necessary tools to deepen their understanding of science and to explore the many possible career paths in STEM fields. Bayer is accomplishing this through the active participation and leadership of our passionate MSMS volunteers. Since its launch in late 2017, employees across the country have been breathing life into the Science Matters program by spearheading their own events for local youth. At our Shakopee, Minnesota manufacturing site, Josh Betcher is leading the way.

Making Science Matter in Local Communities

4-H students learning how to manufacture fidget spinners.
If you ask Human Resources for Josh Betcher's official job title, you’ll hear Engineering and Quality Assurance Manager. However, the majority of his peers in Shakopee have gifted him the title of Head Agvocate. Josh and his team spend much of their time teaching and advocating for agriculture not only among fellow Shakopee employees, but also in the community. Josh even shares his passion as a leader in the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) program.

Bayer's Science Matters partnership with 4-H sparked the momentum for Josh and his team to implement the program among local 4-H chapters. At our Shakopee site, Josh and his fellow Making Science Make Sense volunteers recently hosted a STEM exploration event for 45 4-H students representing chapters from four neighboring counties. The students had the chance to learn about 3D printing, robotics and other exciting mechanical engineering concepts. "Thank you for the tremendous visit you planned for our 4-H youth,” said Extension Educator Kathryn Sharpe. “They were truly lit on fire, and it was so exciting to watch them discover new potential career paths for themselves."

This was the first event of its kind, but Josh is confident that it won’t be the last. The feedback he received after the event reinforced the value and impact of these outreach efforts. The interest and engagement was so inspiring that Josh and his team are currently exploring the idea of hosting quarterly Science Matters events for 4-H chapters in the surrounding area of Shakopee

Finished Product – Bayer’s 4-H “Science Matters” fidget spinner!
"Our MSMS team was presented with a need to support and enhance the local educational system in doing a better job of effectively transitioning high school students into the workforce," said Josh. "Programs like Science Matters provide an opportunity to introduce our youth to engineering, manufacturing and developing technology. This is our chance to make a difference and help children reach their fullest potential.”

As an international company, Bayer often focuses on STEM education at the big-picture level. We understand that global efforts are essential. But, we also know the significant role Bayer can play in our own backyards. The Shakopee MSMS team’s involvement with Science Matters perfectly demonstrates the value and importance of taking time to educate, engage and inspire those in local Bayer communities – especially our students and future STEM leaders.

Photos are courtesy of the Scott County 4-H Chapter.

Two Teachers Have an Immersive Fellowship at Research Triangle Park

Volunteer Spotlight

NC educators engage with Subject Matter Experts to bring Ag Literacy into their classrooms.

Hello, Bayer! We are two teachers selected to be a part of a three-week immersive learning experience at RTP through the Kenan Fellows Program where we took a deep dive into the business, industry and science behind the work at Bayer.

I am Linnea Gibson, elementary STEM and Magnet Coordinator at Conn Magnet Elementary School of Entrepreneurial Design, and an avid Spartan fan (Go Green). I strive to make science come alive through our project-based learning, both inside and outside the classroom. Most people don't know that I am a certified cake decorator and Scuba Diver who dabbles in photography and kickball.

I am Jasmine Frantz, a high school math teacher at Apex Friendship High School, and lover of all things math-y. I am always looking for ways to inspire my students (especially my Women In Science and Engineering girls) to find math in the real world. Outside of teaching, I love traveling and coaching basketball.

Here's a little bit about our experience at Bayer!:

The Labs

First, we visited the Innovation Center where we saw the beginning stages of plant development. Surprisingly, they had us jump into the lab coats, put on the goggles and get into the action. It was a fun-filled two days with countless connections that made us want to bring plant samplings back to our classrooms.

The Bee Care Center

We just had to see what the buzz was all about at the Bayer Bee Care Center and couldn’t wait to bee there! As we got suited up to assist in the monthly Hive Assessment, we could already see how many connections there were to the curriculum as well as opportunities to share with our students how incredibly important pollinators are to agriculture.

The Greenhouse

Neither of us have green thumbs, but we were excited to be put to work impacting every stage of plant development throughout the greenhouses. We have never seen so much soy, but the greenhouse is about more than just growing plants; the science and math is absolutely everywhere, from the beneficial pests to the seed counter.

Safety

We have come to learn that safety is a very important aspect of the Bayer culture. The talks about lab safety, constant reminders about holding the stair rail and huge focus on human and environmental safety showed us that this was a must. Managing risk to all living things is a constant priority for the company to ensure that all products are thoroughly tested.

Clayton Field Site

Our experience with this team was unforgettable. It was awesome to see the passion they have for making golf courses healthier by investigating the fungi that plagues turf and working hard to keep pests off of ornamentals (those are the pretty-looking plants, like marigolds). We were able to see their greenhouse trials and a grand tour of the site, along with some of the biggest bugs we’ve ever laid eyes on.

All the pieces came together for one common goal: Science for a Better Life. From research to communications to safety, everyone is working together to help growers around the world. We want to be ambassadors for not only Bayer, but the science and math behind everything you do. Thank you for your willingness to teach us what you know during our brief time with you. We cannot wait to share what we learned, bring Ag Literacy into our classrooms and connect with Bayer in the future!

Linnea Gibson

  • K-5 Elementary General Ed & STEM/ Entrepreneurship
  • Conn Active Learning & Technology Magnet Elementary School

Jasmine Frantz

  • 9-10 Grade Math
  • Apex Friendship High School

Macy Maness: My Internship with Bayer

How a volunteer experience changed my summer

Hello! - I’m Macy Maness. I was a corporate communications summer intern at Bayer. I had many wonderful experiences, but it was the opportunity to volunteer with the Passage Home Summer Camp, one of Bayer’s local nonprofit partners dedicated to making families and communities stronger, that I will never forget.

Bayer brought more than 30 kids to its Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, site. The day started with some Making Science Make Sense experiments led by Kenan Fellow, Lindsey Hensler. The kids were amazed that they could dig their hands into a bag of cheese puffs and use the residue on their fingers to imitate a bee pollinating a flower.

Next, the kids had a tour of the Bee Care Center and they were in awe of what they saw. Their favorite part of the tour was watching the beekeepers take the bees out of the hive and seeing all the work that occurs throughout the day. My favorite part was when a little boy named Quinn asked if he could have some honey to taste because he had never tasted real honey. The look of pure enjoyment in his face after tasting that honey made the whole volunteer experience worth it.

After playing at the pavilion, we boarded the bus back to Passage Home. That was when I overheard the kids talking about what they wanted to do in the future. Quinn leaned over and whispered to me, “I want to be a scientist; I want to work at Bayer.” By taking the time to show these kids all that science has to offer, they were more hopeful than I had ever seen them before.

I have looked back on all my experiences from my summer internship with Bayer and can still say that Passage Home had the biggest impact on my life. By taking time to volunteer, you can make a child’s life a little bit better by showing them compassion, teaching them science and helping shape their future. If you have the chance to volunteer with Passage Home, or any organization where you can engage and inspire children, you should!

Note: The majority of Bayer’s volunteer work with Passage Home is during the summer months with the Passage Home Summer Camp. Weekly summer trips to Bayer’s RTP site include a focus on science and safety, and helps break the cycle of poverty in our community. We are working on developing an event this fall for the kids.