As a student from Como Park Senior High School in Minnesota, getting the opportunity to intern at 3M was an incredible experience. This past school year and summer, I joined 32 other students in participating in the Science Training Encouragement Program (STEP). We started our journey through this program in February, when we attended two-hour class sessions during the week. We learned a lot about 3M and how it uses science, technology and engineering. We even got to visit the company’s Cottage Grove manufacturing site; it was stunning. The site was very large and had so many machines running at once – it was quite impressive.
About two months into the session, we were given handouts that had descriptions of the different projects that we could be working on over the summer. We each selected our top four choices that we were most interested in and then interviewed with the lead on the summer project. By the end of the school session, we had met with our summer supervisor and learned more about what we would be doing over the summer.
As the school year came to an end and summer began, most of us started working at 3M during the week. We were all dispersed into the many buildings of 3M, working with different divisions. I had the pleasure of working with my supervisor Noah in the Electronics Materials Solutions Division on our summer project in the Corporate Research Materials Lab. The project I am working on this summer is titled Acoustic Enhancements for Handheld Devices.
The ultimate goal of this project is for us to understand and identify the many properties of acoustic material to enhance mobile device speakers with the best acoustic performance. In other words, mobile devices are getting thinner, battery capacity is getting longer and speakers are getting smaller, so we need to find material that has the best acoustic performance.
I have enjoyed working at 3M. I get to meet new people and learn a lot of things from people who are wiser and more experienced than myself. I pick up a lot of skills that I will definitely need for the future. I like it when the students all get together at least once a week for activities planned by the adults. A particularly memorable experience was when all of us students came together for a picnic. Everybody was energetic and encouraging as we played games, and it was a fun time. I’m happy to say that I have made many new friends and plan to keep in touch with all of them. Overall, this internship was a great experience.