KWS SAAT SE Develops Plant Science Mentorship, Training Program for St. Louis-area Students

KWS Gateway Research Center
KWS Gateway Research Center

Teaming with Diversity Awareness Partnership and BioSTL to Cultivate Interest in Agriculture Science

Global plant-breeding company KWS SAAT SE will coach promising young scientists and foster interest in agriculture science through a new St. Louis-area mentorship program partnering high school students with researchers from the KWS Gateway Research Center.

In collaboration with Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP) and BioSTL, KWS developed the “Explore Agriculture Science” program.

“Tapping into students’ passion for science as early as possible, and making opportunities available to a diverse population, has long been a passion of mine,” said Derek†Bartlem, KWS Head of Research USA, and managing director of the KWS Gateway Research Center. “You never know when pairing a student with a working researcher can spark an interest that leads to a long-lasting career.”

The program will launch in the fall with an application and recruitment process for interested students. Once 20 to 25 high school students from the region are identified, the program will team them up with as many as 15 researchers from KWS who will serve as mentors for the students, in three sessions during the fall semester.

Students will visit the Gateway Research Center, located in St. Louis’ BioResearch and Development and Growth (BRDG) Park, for a series of interactive activities aimed at understanding the agriculture science industry; panel discussions; skill-building exercises; mentoring discussions; and success stories from industry professionals.

“We are privileged to join KWS and BioSTL in developing this program”, said Reena Hajat Carroll, Executive Director of DAP. “This sort of real-world exposure to science-based careers can pay untold benefits for students.”

The program will culminate with the “Agriculture Sciences Innovation Challenge” which will ask students to use the skills they have developed throughout the program to present potentially innovative solutions to a KWS challenge.

About KWS
KWS is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies. More than 4,800 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of € 1.178 billion in fiscal 2013/2014. For more than 150 years KWS has operated as an independent company with a tradition of family ownership. Its main areas of work lie in the breeding of varieties and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, potatoes, oil-seed rape and sunflower. The company invests 13 percent of its annual net sales in research and development. KWS uses state-of-the-art plant breeding methods and technologies to continuously improve variety yields and resistances to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. Further information: or follow on Twitter†@KWS_Group.

About Diversity Awareness Partnership
Diversity Awareness Partnership is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting diversity in the St. Louis region around issues of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. We achieve our mission through youth programs, diversity training, community forums and diversity publications. Themed†Make a Difference by Accepting Everyone Else’s, Diversity Awareness Partnership has become a replicable model for communities across the nation in advancing diversity and inclusion efforts. Find DAP online at, or on Twitter @inclusivestl.

About BioSTL
BioSTL advances St. Louis’ prosperity by cultivating a thriving bioscience sector. BioSTL builds regional capacity, nurtures a collaborative environment, and focuses community leadership and resources to capitalize on the unique convergence of St. Louis’ corporate, university, and entrepreneurial strengths in medical and plant bioscience. Please visit for additional information. Follow BioSTL on twitter @BioSTL.


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