Achievement award inspires young scientists

Frank Bezdicek ‘70 explains the importance of volunteering for the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award.

I often hear CFANS alumni wonder why they don’t see more representatives from the U of M visiting their high school to tell the CFANS story. My response, “That U of M representative in your community is you.”

 As a U of M graduate, you are the classic example of the quality and caliber of student graduating from the University of MN. It’s our responsibility as alumni to be spreading the CFANS story instead of waiting and wishing that someone from the limited U of M staff would appear and tell that story.

How can you become that CFANS ambassador? One-way is to actively participate as a volunteer in the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award (NBSAA) program.

Every year CFANS graduates throughout the state encourage their local high schools to select a junior to recognize his or her academic achievements in the area of science. That volunteer then presents the award to the selected student at the local high school awards program.

Presenting the award to the student assembly does more than reveal the NBSAA winner; your participation informs the student body, generally several hundred, that you have received your college degree from the U of M. You quickly become an ambassador for the U of M. Then when students are seeking colleges, instead of considering adjacent state colleges, they may approach you and get your personal U of M Experience story.

I have heard a number of stories where students exposed to CFANS via the NBSAA program have gone on to seek out the CFANS story. They soon discover all of the benefits of being a part of the food system at this great land-grant institution.

We have a great story to tell. You have an opportunity to make reality the perception for CFANS. It can all start by volunteering to participate in the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award program.

-Frank Bezdicek '70, Chair of the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award Committee

Frank Bezdicek received his B.S. in Agricultural Education from CFANS in 1970. After spending a 30-year career at Land O’Lakes in the areas of membership services and marketing communications, Bezdicek established a consulting business called, “The Other Right Answer, LLC.” As chair of the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award Committee, he was instrumental in creating a $1,000 Alumni Society scholarship award to any recipient of the Science Achievement Award who successfully enrolls in CFANS.

Learn how to participate in the 2018 program by going to