David Whitman ’85, PhD
Director Quality and Regulatory Affairs, 3M Food Safety
My liberal arts degree from Mac gave me the perspective of being a citizen of the world. As such, I’ve been drawn to want to make a difference in the world. I’ve spent my entire professional life in health care trying to make that difference. Coming from Mac with majors in chemistry and environmental studies gave me the desire and confidence to steer my organizations toward sustainability every step along my career pathway.
3M is a global company with customers and co-workers in virtually every country. I was able to hit the ground running with not only a comfort, but a passion, for working with people from every background. These skills have enabled me to be an effective leader and collaborator with 3Mers, partners and customers around the globe. The opportunity to pursue hands-on research as an undergraduate piqued my interest in biomedical research. Today I work at the interface of engineering, natural sciences, biological sciences, business and government policy to provide biochemical, molecular and microbiological testing products to help keep our global food supply safe.
Follow your passions. Be true to your core beliefs and weave those into everything you do. If you do this, wherever you land in your career will be filled with meaning and fulfillment. It is tougher to crack into larger science-based companies with a liberal arts degree, so use graduate school at a major university as a stepping stone to get you in the door. Use your Macalester network—we love to talk to and help other Mac students and grads. The same goes for a working a broader network with informational discussions. If you are meeting an interviewer for the first time during the interview, you may have already lost the job.