(A.W. Research Owner and CFO Sarah Fogderud (left), and Intern Brendan Hermerding (right))
About A.W. Research:
Founded in 1972, A.W. Research Laboratories was one of the first state-certified testing labs in Minnesota. Now specialized in over 35 testing parameters, A.W. provides in-house laboratory testing from drinking water to wastewater, and everything in-between.
A majority of A.W.’s clientele include cities, municipalities and lake associations who require monthly water quality testing, among other needs.
“The last couple of summers we’ve been swamped and needed extra help in the lab,” said Sarah Fogderud, A.W.’s Owner and CFO. “Our work is very seasonal. We get a lot more work in the summer than in the winter, and for the last few summers, we’ve been lucky enough to have chemistry majors from Gustavus fill in.”
One of those summer interns was Lab Technician Brendan Hermerding who secured his internship with A.W. through the SciTech Internship Program.
About the Intern:
Hermerding, also a chemistry major at Gustavus Adolphus College, served as the primary analyst for the total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus and ammonia tests while working in the A.W. lab. In the field, he assisted Fogderud by collecting surface water samples from nearby wetlands, lakes and brooks.
“That was a lot of fun, driving around the area and climbing up streams,” Hermerding said. “I really enjoyed it. Being able to go out and see how these samples are collected and seeing where they’re coming from kinda changed my perspective. It put a ‘face to the water’ and gave a little more meaning to the tests that I do.”
Hermerding was always STEM- and nature-minded. Before this internship, however he rarely found the time to get outside and go hiking as much as he would have liked. “This job,” he said, “provided me with the opportunity to continue my exploration of career fields that allow me to serve and improve the ecosystems of my communities.”
Through his internship with A.W., Hermerding received valuable industry exposure and hands-on experience in the lab and in the field. But he wasn’t the only one to benefit from this exchange.
Having an intern, Fogderud said, “is so beneficial to your business. Not only does it take some of the workload off, but it’s ensuring that your industry is going to be there in the future because you’re helping to train the future workforce, which I think is really important.”
Small Minnesota companies receive up to $2,500 to help pay a STEM intern. At least 350 wage matches are available through August 2019.