By Dan The Co-Op
Many of you have probably been where I am now:–near the end of college and worrying about getting a job to pay off that mountain of student loan debt. If you’re anything like me, you’ve also had to face the reality that the job isn’t going to be “Rock Star-Astronaut” like you planned for when you were seven years old.
But when I got a call from Monsanto offering me an internship last November, I was pumped. Not only was this a chance to get my feet wet in the real world, but I’d get to work in an area that I think is almost as cool as cruising the cosmos with a guitar. I’m talking about biotech and the way that organizations like Monsanto can use it to help people.
Now after that last sentence I’ve probably got some of you rolling your eyes. “Monsanto doesn’t help people; Monsanto is an evil company and the world would be better off without it,” right? Well, hear me out. Before I came here, I didn’t know very much about the company; I read the same blogs and saw the same YouTube videos that you all did. But when I walked through those doors in January, I was given a perspective that a lot of you haven’t got. And if you let me, I’ll try and share it with you.
First of all, everyone I’ve met here gives 110 percent. They’re all willing to do whatever it takes to put out the best product possible and make sure it meets all of the required standards for quality and safety. There’s no grand deception or conspiracy at play here that’s making Monsanto the market leader, just hard work and exceptional workers. In the end, that’s just how you run a business. You can’t make a profit if your product hurts your customers. If half of the bad things I’ve heard about this company were true, they wouldn’t make it to the end of the year!
Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t valid concerns about Monsanto (or any company), just that the debate about Monsanto and biotech in general needs to be informed, intelligent and open-minded. At the end of the day the enemy isn’t GM food or organic food–the enemy is hunger and starvation. It’s not an enemy that can be fought with bickering, politics and drama but with ideas, cooperation, and yes–a little profit-driven innovation. Sure, Monsanto is a company that’s trying to improve their bottom line. But they’re doing it with a little more care and compassion nowadays than many people give them credit for.
Just one more thought before I leave you. For those of you who might be thinking “of course you’d say that; you work for them!” Keep in mind that I’m an intern here and I don’t get any end-of-year bonus for writing this post. If you come ask me this July, when my name is off the company payroll and their parking sticker is just a gluey spot on my windshield, I’ll still tell you that Monsanto is a fine company and the people I met there are good people.
Dan is a student of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a major in Biological Sciences and minors in Computer Science and Bioinformatics. He was offered a co-op with Monsanto in January of 2009 and brought on as an Application Support Specialist. A confessed nerd, Dan can usually be found in front of a computer or behind a book but he occasionally ventures out to dabble with writing or to play the bass guitar (badly). He has a profound love of science and relishes any opportunity to flex his creative muscles.