CBS People: Seth Thompson

October 09, 2019

Seth Thompson

What is your title?
Outreach Program Manager

You have been at the University for more than a decade--first an undergraduate, then a graduate student and now a staff member. How did those experiences shape you?
The University of Minnesota really is home for me. I came here in 2007 as an 18 year old never imagining the opportunities I would have or how they would shape my life. Whether it’s reflecting on the importance of community I picked up in the Dean’s Scholars program or my first exposures to scientific research in Foundations of Biology, many of my formative experiences have happened here. I often reflect on how fortunate I have been to experience this amazing institution for so long from the relationships I’ve been able to build with faculty to the students I’ve been able to work with both in the lab and in the classroom. The College and the U of M have given me the chance to develop into the scientist and professional that I am today, and that’s something that I will always be truly grateful for.  

What are you most looking forward to in your new science outreach role?
We have so many people doing amazing work in CBS and my job is to connect that work to the broader community. I am responsible for overseeing Market Science and InSciEd Out, as well as helping develop a more integrated, cohesive approach to our outreach efforts at the collegiate level. That means I will work closely with other areas within CBS undertaking outreach efforts, including our field stations and the CBS Conservatory, to find ways to build a shared vision for outreach in CBS. The goal is to be able to efficiently leverage our resources to build sustainable, innovative outreach programs that are available to folks across the state and beyond.

What do you see as opportunities for growth in science outreach?
There are so many ways that our existing programs complement each other and so many potential synergies. I think we have a big opportunity to continue to build outreach programming around the incredible research happening in the College and across the University. For example, the Nutrient Network plots that we put in at Cedar Creek last year to support the educational mission of the station are one excellent example of this. We really can use outreach to further the research mission of CBS and to communicate about the importance of our work to communities all across Minnesota.  I think there is a growing recognition within science broadly that outreach and science communication are fundamental aspects of being a scientist. So I think it is really exciting to think about how we can integrate outreach into the educational experiences of our undergraduate and graduate students and use outreach as a professional development tool for students, staff and faculty in CBS.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
These days it’s mostly wrestling with my 22-month-old Huxley and spending time with my wife Mollie :). We love to spend time at the zoo or hiking. I try to get outside as much as possible because I think it’s really important to maintain a connection to nature. I also really enjoy trying new restaurants because the Twin Cities has an amazing food scene. There are so many great places to get food and I love to try new flavors or styles of cooking when I get that chance.