At 3M, we're all learning, discovering, exploring and innovating together. Our internship programs allow students to join other 3Mers on their career journey. Here’s a deeper look at what it’s like to be a Design intern from someone who has experienced it firsthand.
Name: Shannon Vanderhill
Title: UX Designer
Number of years and previous positions at 3M: One and a half years in current position
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in design from the University of Texas at Austin; Master of Fine Arts in design management and Master of Arts in jewelry from the Savannah College of Art and Design
Office Location: St. Paul, MN
My design degree in graduate school was jokingly called “the Post-It® Note degree” because we used them so extensively in our process. They are a symbol of innovation as well as an important tool in design work.
I was interested in 3M because of its innovative practices and the growth the design function has had in the last ten years at 3M. I met a designer at my university career fair and was drawn in immediately.
The team. 3M has built a community of designers that are collocated for collaboration, support and learning. Also, I was drawn to the breadth and scope of the problems that 3M solves for many kinds of users. There are great opportunities here to make a powerful impact.
During my internship, I worked as a researcher on the Health Information Systems (HIS) team. We uncovered insights and design implications for enterprise software used by hospital systems.
My role today is centered on Food Safety, which like HIS, is a very specialized domain with interesting opportunities for design. Currently, I’m focusing on software for microbiologists and technicians testing foods and environmental samples at labs all over the world.
My internship prepared me to join the team as a contributing team member the moment I started as a full-time 3Mer. I was able to jump into new domains and problems more easily because I knew the company and the team and had allies and mentors that could guide me.
One of the most important and influential parts of my internship were the informational interviews I did within 3M and the design community in the Twin Cities. My advice for those with an interest in design at 3M would be to take advantage of the access you have to mentors in the design community. They are amazing and give insightful feedback and advice. They can help you to figure out the best way to reach your goals.
The most memorable part of my career at 3M thus far has been the people. By working as a designer here, I have had the opportunity to connect with fellow designers in different disciplines, with technical and business experts on my project teams, and with mentees in high school and college internship programs at 3M. Working at 3M is a constant expansion of my comfort zone and network.