Citizen Scholar Interns in Australia for 3M

For many, Post-It notes, Scotch tape, and Command strips are necessary tools to collaborate, create, and share their work, but how many people stop to think about how those products make it into the market? Alia Jones, junior Humanities Prelaw major and member of the Citizen Scholars program, was immersed in the development and strategy behind these products through a summer internship with 3M in Sydney, Australia.

Jones worked with 3M’s digital marketing team and was assigned various tasks related to social media analytics, including developing information graphics about 3M retailers like Amazon. She even assisted with a few photoshoots.

“My day-to-day always looked different as they had me doing a lot of different things,” Jones said. “It taught me a lot about the critical strategy that goes into marketing a product and how that is applied when working on projects. My favorite experience was assisting in photoshoots for Post-it where I was responsible for drawing graphics on the Post-it notes that would be used throughout the shoot. It was an incredible feeling seeing the final shots knowing that I played a role in that process.”

I don’t want to limit myself, and I don’t like to put definite boundaries on my skills.

Although Jones is a Humanities Prelaw major, she embraced the opportunity to broaden her skillset and become well versed in areas that aren’t traditionally associated with prelaw programs. Jones has cognates in Professional and Public Writing and African American and African Studies and currently serves as a communications intern for MSU Human Resources.

“I don’t want to limit myself, and I don’t like to put definite boundaries on my skills,” she said. “As far as a career, I would prefer to work in a setting where I can collaborate. I think digital marketing is interesting and I learned that there’s so much more to it than what meets the eye.”

Jones chose to intern in Australia because she wanted to take the opportunity to travel across the world.

“Australia is a really far away experience, and not many people make it there,” she said. “I decided to use this opportunity to go very far because who knows if I’ll get the chance to go to a place like that again.”

girl who's wearing a black shirt and red pants who is sitting with her arms spread open in front of a red sign that says 3M

MSU partners with Global Academic Ventures, which places students in international internships and jobs. Jones utilized her scholarship from the Citizen Scholars program and a Beyond Boundaries scholarship from the College of Arts & Letters to enroll in the Global Academic Ventures program.

“Because of the generosity I’ve received, I was able to have these experiences,” Jones said. “I look forward to giving back in the future when I can afford it. I want to be an advocate for programs like this. They inspire people and it has made me want to help others in the same way that I was helped through scholarship funds.

“One thing that Citizen Scholars and the College of Arts & Letters teaches people is that there’s always a deeper meaning; there’s always more to be discovered. Reading about an author’s or artist's inspiration and motivation behind something is art itself. The Citizen Scholars program is broadening my perspective and my point of view to be inclusive and have an open mind towards other cultures. I was able to go into situations and look at things in a deeper, more analytical way.”

One thing that Citizen Scholars and the College of Arts & Letters teaches people is that there’s always a deeper meaning; there’s always more to be discovered.

During her time in Australia, Jones shared an apartment in Sydney’s Darling Harbour with other college students from across the United States. After work, the students would spend time together visiting museums and other cultural destinations in Circular Quay, the harbor near the Sydney Opera House.

The experiences she had in Australia, especially the last leg of the trip where she traveled to the Great Barrier Reef to go snorkeling, have given Jones the travel bug.

“I want to go everywhere…I look forward to exploring and seeing different places in the world and let those experiences reflect and shape how I view things,” Jones said. “The whole time I was in Australia, I was able to truly take in the different experience for what they were. I believe my biases were very minimal because I came into the experience expecting and seeking out differences because of the Citizen Scholars program.”

But before she takes off on her next worldly adventure, Jones looks forward to gaining experience in local and state government, and upon graduation, she would like to attend Law School.