Austin Area Foundation launches scholarship for STEM education

Published 5:34 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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The Austin Area Foundation and the Science Fair Mentoring Project has partnered in the establishment of the Rick Herreid Science Scholarship.

This scholarship will honor the memory of Rick Herreid, who died suddenly in 2019. Herreid worked as a food scientist with Hormel Foods Corporation in the Research and Development department. After retiring, Herreid volunteered with the Science Fair Mentoring Project and served on its Board of Directors.

Herreid was also a long-time member of a Great Books discussion group. His family believes he would have found the following quote from Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley both inspiring and amusing. In the novel, the professor M. Waldman is discussing the field of chemistry with his new student, Victor Frankenstein.

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“The ancient teachers of this science,” said he, “promised impossibilities, and performed nothing. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted, and that the elixir of life is a chimera. But these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles.”

Catherine Haslag, Scholarship Committee Chair for the Austin Area Foundation, is excited to add another scholarship opportunity to the work the Austin Area Foundation does.

“I think the Rick Herreid Science Scholarship is an excellent way to honor Rick, his love of science, and support Mower County students with dreams of working in a science field. We all need to help the generations coming behind us. This scholarship will help meet this goal,” Haslag said.

The new scholarship will be offered in spring 2025 and will be open to anyone with a high school diploma who is a current Mower County resident or graduate of a Mower County high school (regardless of current residency). Applicants must also have a 3.5 GPA and be enrolled in a two- or four-year college/university with a declared science major.

Visit the Austin Area Foundation website at for more information or to learn how to make a donation to support this scholarship.