This piece was adapted from an alumni interview with the University of Minnesota.
When I was in college, I majored in molecular biology and did my thesis in cancer genomics. I believed – and still believe – that science holds life-changing answers to some of the most challenging questions in the world. And that’s why I started my career in 3M Health Care. I enjoyed being able to walk into a hospital and point to a particular product or a particular patient population and know, for a fact, that my work had helped someone.
Now, I work for 3M’s Aerospace Division, where we make products with the goal of safer, lighter and quieter airplanes – saving precious time and resources from start to finish. I never imagined when I was studying cancer DNA in grad school laboratories that I’d later be studying schematics for 747s. But it turns out that when you’re interested in using science to solve the world’s problems, there is no shortage of ways to do that – from new medical devices to more efficient airplanes. I even find myself getting to help build the next generation of scientists as part of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.
When I made the switch from health care to aerospace, it wasn’t without a lot of soul searching first. For me, it came down to how I wanted to define my career: Did I want to be a biologist, or did I want to be a 3Mer? This is giving me an opportunity to get to know the broader 3M as I move forward.
“3M Science. Applied to Life” is more than a tagline – it’s truly how we function. It’s incredibly impactful to know your days have meaning, and that meaning is quantifiable (must be the scientist in me) because you can see people using your technology to better their lives.