working at the intersection of science, healthcare & entrepreneurship


Innovation Scholars Staff. Read about the people who manage the program.

John Meslow

John Meslow, a retired Medtronic executive, envisioned the opportunity for undergraduates to work on real life projects and inventions through Mayo Clinic Ventures in 2006 and designed the flagship Mayo Innovation Scholars Program from the ground up. During the pandemic, John and his team pivoted to a virtual format …..John has many years of experience operating at the interface of science, medicine and business and brings this expertise to the program.

Rebecca Hawthorne, Ph.D.
Program Director

Hawthorne serves as Innovation Scholars Program Director, focused on building a sustainable, cutting-edge, experiential learning model that engages liberal arts students at the intersections of disciplinary learning and real life problem-solving. She holds a doctorate in program design and evaluation from Stanford University’s School of Education and is a professor emerita in organizational leadership at St. Catherine University.

Liz Jansen, Ph.D.
Academic Program Director

Jansen is a professor of biology and Director of the Olin Rice Hub at Macalester College. She teaches courses in her home discipline of neuroscience, as well as courses in reproductive biology. She enjoys the multidisciplinarity of Innovation Scholars and sees it as a fruitful application of a liberal arts education. Liz works closely with undergraduate faculty mentors on each campus and curates projects for the program each year.

Marietta Ruppe
Program Administrator

Ruppe is the Recruiting, Internship and Budget Coordinator of the Piper Center at St. Olaf College
working with students seeking funding for their internships to helping with employer relations to benefit
the students. Her experience in support and administration along with past work in the non-profit
industry help keep the Innovation Scholars program connected. Marietta knows the value of a liberal
arts education as her two children have graduated from Minnesota private colleges.