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Jennifer Alstad.

Jennifer Alstad

My alma mater

By Jennifer Alstad, '92

From M, summer 2006

When I came to the U, it was everything that I dreamt of--a huge campus, foreign languages, thousands of students--and anonymity. Growing up in the small town of Granite Falls, Minnesota, the idea of going somewhere very big was exciting. The reality of it was even better. We could do our own experiments: posting flyers that the energizer bunny was going to jump over Northrop Auditorium to see how many people would come to the event, gluing quarters to the sidewalk to see how many people stopped to pick them up versus a dollar bill, trying to get students to care about childcare.

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The lab called "the U" set the precedent for what I do today--understanding consumer behavior and making products that meet those needs. The U is where I learned that you could make a life from experimenting, imagining, and creating. Can you think of anything better than that? I can't. So, it's why I give back.

Jennifer Alstad, '92, is cofounder of the Minneapolis-based design and consumer understanding firm, b-swing, inc.