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Alworth Memorial Fund launches online video series

High school students with interests in STEM fields, but who are uncertain of what to expect in college and beyond, now have a friend they can turn to for insights 24 hours a day.

She’s Professor Alworth, who chats with northern Minnesota STEM students in a series of fun and informative video features that launched today at

“STEM Talks with Professor Alworth,” each about 10 minutes in length and featuring recent Alworth Scholarship recipients, confirm that many STEM students had the same apprehensions current high school students might have – including being surprised they’d quality for a $20,000 scholarship.

“Teachers and guidance counselors do a great job of preparing STEM students for college, but when those students hear it from others who are about their age, who had the same excitement and fears, it really hits home,” said Alworth Memorial Fund Executive Director Patty Salo Downs. “These videos not only paint a realistic picture of college life, they hopefully inspire young people to aim high in STEM careers.”

One of the first two “STEM Talks with Professor Alworth” now online features Babbitt’s Lori Huseby. Currently in her senior year at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, where she’s studying math, chemistry and computer science, she talks about her internship with NASA and how she almost didn’t apply for the Alworth Scholarship.

The other initial “STEM Talks” video includes two students – Joel Gustafson of Hermantown, who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Luke Heine of Cloquet, who attended Harvard. Their freewheeling discussion about computer science being a playground is as entertaining as it is informative, and shows us that nothing is unattainable – including attending top-tier academic institutions.

Future segments will include one about a student who turned his knowledge of car repair into an engineering career, and another about a student whose love of the outdoors led to her becoming a research biologist. Additional “STEM Talks” videos are being produced frequently, with new ones being added to the Alworth website each month.

While the students in the videos are real, Professor Alworth is actor Victoria Main, a Superior resident who has performed professionally from Duluth to New York City.

“The word ‘professor’ is often intimidating to young people, so we created Professor Alworth to be approachable and a little quirky to put high school students at ease,” said Salo Downs. “We want them to succeed, and we can help with that process by encouraging them to apply for an Alworth Scholarship.”

The Marshall H. and Nellie Alworth Memorial Fund awards scholarships to students with interests in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or scientific fields of study. The Fund is available to students in high schools, plus those who are home schooled, located in these 10 northern Minnesota counties: Aitkin, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Lake, Itasca, Koochiching and St Louis.

Since its establishment in 1949, the Fund has distributed $52 million among 5,200 motivated young people. Its web address is

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