Meagan Gelinske comes from a generous family, and the importance of giving back was instilled in her at an early age.
"I learned early on to share what I had. Several of my family members are very generous and I quickly realized that giving to help others is a good way to live," Meagan said. "My Christian faith plays a large part, too."
Meagan began supporting Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch about 10 years ago. She wanted to support a North Dakota charity that would impact children. Born and raised in Southeast North Dakota, Meagan had always known about the Ranch and was interested in learning more; as in many ways, the Ranch ministry intersected with her interest in science and brain research.
As a scientist at Aldevron, a biotechnology company based in Fargo, ND, Meagan provides technical advisement for internal teams and clients working with Aldevron's DNA products.
"Our DNA, RNA, and protein products, both off-the-shelf and customized, are used primarily in the research and clinical trials for cell and gene therapy application," Meagan said.
Aldevron has also been in the news lately for the company's work supporting mRNA vaccines—the technology behind many of the current COVID vaccines. "When we first started supporting the development of mRNA therapeutics several years ago, it was a niche area of the biotech space, but now everybody knows about it."
While at work, Meagan focused on biotechnology, but her scientific interests have expanded to brain health and the developmental component of being able to shape lives early on.
"Brain research focused on neuroplasticity is a very interesting and emerging field. I think it's really important to understand how previous traumas or previous adverse events can be reshaped for people," Meagan said. "I've met with some of the people leading those activities at the Ranch and am impressed with the work the Ranch is doing with children. The Ranch continues to learn how trauma can physically change your brain and how to reverse that."
Last year, Meagan became a Honeycomb Partner, meaning she makes an automated monthly donation to support the work of the Ranch. "Previous to that I'd been giving a little more ad hoc," Meagan said. "This program is really helpful because it allows me to automate my gifts and provide more continuity for the Ranch."
Meagan likes that she is investing in the long-term health of children. "The Ranch's work has a lasting community impact. This work is an investment in individuals for whom this can change the trajectory of their lives. It is very gratifying personally to think about that and how I can help partner in this investment through my financial support."
This article was originally published in Ranch Voice: Summer 2021.
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