The Bakken Museum inspires a passion for innovation by exploring the potential for science, technology, and the humanities to make the world a better place.
"August is the smartest person I know. Every day he comes to class with a positive attitude; even if I don't because I had more soldering to do. He is a very good person and I wanted to say thank you to all that he has helped me so far and in the future." -Sam
After inspecting the soldering of one student’s project August was called over by another student to help figure out why the motor wasn't turning. An examination of the circuit and quick flick of the tongue on the battery revealed the problem: a dead battery. Another problem solved, thanks to the help of a mentor. That mentor was August Schwerdfeger.
August Schwerdfeger has a long history with The Bakken Museum and its invention programs. He can often be found in the workshop immersed in a world of interesting gadgets, creative electronics, and curious students. August was once a participant in the invention program he now mentors.
August has been a part of the program from the beginning. During the second session ever held back in January of 1999, August, then only 13 years old, got his first exposure to the workshop. Now thirteen years later he is still a regular face in the workshop. During his time as a student August worked on many interesting projects.
In 2002, August enrolled at the University of Minnesota. There he studied until completing a PhD in Computer Science in 2010 at the age of 24. With the completion of his PhD, August had more free time and has been kind enough to share it with students in the workshop. Since coming back as a mentor, August has worked with many students. He has become one of our most reliable mentors. He helps in the morning session and stays for the afternoon sessions. He will often come in for open workshops as well. Not only does he offer his expertise to the students, but August has become an excellent resource for the staff as well. He has helped to test many circuits and ideas that we have come across.
The most important contributions that August has made to The Bakken are the relationships he has built with the students. Many students look up to August. Awed by the depth of knowledge he brings in so many subjects, students rely on August's guidance and expertise. These students are able to reach much higher and go much farther with their projects than they could on their own because of the support and encouragement August brings to them.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor like August, click here.