By Kat Palczewski | October 2013

Setting Herself up for Success

Since freshman year, Shannon Gillespie, Apparel and Textile Design senior, has been driven to find opportunities and prepare herself for a successful future. As she settles in for her last year at Michigan State University with a full-time job offer at Target Headquarters already secured, she realizes that her hard work is paying off.

Shannon's involvement started her sophomore year with volunteering as an Assistant to the Director for the ATD Fashion Show and joining the MSU Fashion Design Student Association. She now holds leadership positions in both.

The summer after junior year, Shannon landed a Store Management Internship with Macy's in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"I went to my retailing class on a day that I thought class was cancelled; I didn't even think this lady was coming from Macy's. She came and spoke to the class and asked if anyone had questions."

Shannon jumped in when no one else had a question and asked, "Where does someone that's a design major fit in to Macy's business model?"

Impressed with Shannon's question, the Macy's representative asked for her resume and things fell into place from there.

Shannon explains that her experience at Macy's gave her what she needed to stand out to Target the next summer.

"Because I had that, I ended up having a great resume, met people from Target at the career fair, spoke with them, and went through the interview process."

Making Spartan Connections

While in Minneapolis at the Target Headquarters, Shannon was excited to find Spartan connections.

"I actually connected with a few MSU alums while I was at Target. I met two designers who were Apparel and Textile Design majors and actually had the same professor who I have now. It was exciting to connect with them and talk to them about their experience and how they got there."

A Unique Perspective

Shannon explains that her classwork has directly transferred into each of her internship experiences.

"It helped having a design background. Whereas a lot of people have business backgrounds, it helps to come with a different eye—to see how things are displayed or to look at colors or assortments. I have a different perspective that I've learned in my classes."

Being part of a small degree program, she has found that many of her professors have become mentors, especially Dr. Theresa Winge. She describes the Apparel and Textile Design major as being a close, tight-knit community.

In August, Shannon will start her professional career as a Merchandising Planning Business Analyst at the Target Headquarters in Minneapolis.