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Other views: Critic of research efforts wrong about pay levels

In response to Dale Winkelman's letter published in the Dec. 17 Forum: While the creation of a research corridor will not entirely stop the flow of young North Dakotans out of the state, it will help.

In response to Dale Winkelman's letter published in the Dec. 17 Forum:

While the creation of a research corridor will not entirely stop the flow of young North Dakotans out of the state, it will help. My husband and I are evidence of this fact as we were able to stay in North Dakota due to my job at the North Dakota State University Department of Polymers and Coatings, which is now located at the NDSU Research and Technology Park, located just north of the campus.

However, when Winkelman stated "For the most part these positions resemble lower paying government jobs," he apparently had not done his research in the area. As of Sept. 1, 245 individuals were employed at the NDSU Research and Technology Park with an average income of $56,000 (you can learn more about the Research & Technology Park at: www.ndsuresearchpark.com ). A salary of $56,000 would not meet my definition of a low-paying government job. According to www.growingnd.com , the per capita income for our state in 2000 was $25,068. Therefore, the average income at the NDSU Research & Technology Park is more than twice the per capita income for our state.

The jobs created at the NDSU Research and Technology Park are the high-paying jobs that we need to keep our educated college graduates in the state. Additionally, they are the high-caliber jobs that will bring back North Dakotans to this state as evidenced by numerous employees at the NDSU Research and Technology Park that were enticed back to North Dakota.

After graduating from University of North Dakota with a bachelor of science in chemistry, I decided to attend graduate school at NDSU to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. At that time, my dad told me that I was most likely educating myself out of being able to live and work in North Dakota. He would have been correct if it weren't for Gordon Bierwagen, chairman of the Department of Polymers and Coatings at NDSU, offering me a position last year. I jumped at the opportunity. Without the creation of the NDSU Research and Technology Park I would have been forced to leave this state that I love.

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The well-educated and trained graduates of North Dakota schools deserve the opportunity to stay and experience the high quality of life that we take for granted. If given the chance, many would make the decision to work at the NDSU Research and Technology Park or a future research corridor. Let's give them a chance and the choice.

Johnston Gelling, Ph.D., is senior research associate, Department of Polymers and Coatings, North Dakota State University.

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