Alumni Resources

Stay connected to your U and tap into the vast network of alumni to help you achieve your professional and personal goals. The alumni association is there for you every step of the way with lifelong learning opportunities, career services and programs and services to enrich your life.

If you feel the Driven to Discover spirit, we invite you to stay connected!


Connect with Alumni

There are currently over 80 alumni networks around the globe, providing opportunities for alumni to connect to each other and to the University.

Alumni networks

Learn about the U of M Alumni Association

Stay connected with other alumni, students, and friends of the U of M. Enjoy discounts on events and Gopher apparel. Access U of M libraries online. And more.


DIY face masks during COVID-19

April 1, 2020

back of face mask
front of face mask
Step 2
step 3
step 4
step 5
step 6
step 7
step 8
step 9
step 10
step 11
step 13
step 13
print pattern copy

University of Minnesota alum Shannon Williamson (BS ’11, apparel design; MS ’17, medical device innovation) works as a user experience designer with the cardiovascular group at Medtronic. With the COVID-19 crisis, Williamson’s background in apparel design and medical device innovation has prepared her to meet a new challenge: crowdsourcing a critical health care need by providing a DIY template for face masks.

While DIY masks are not as effective as surgical or N95 masks* in preventing the spread of COVID-19, some doctors and other health care professionals are wearing them over the top of the higher-tech masks to increase durability. And use of these DIY masks, by lower risk populations, free up N95 masks for health care professionals and others who are at high risk.

“This mask is deliberately more complex than those that are circulating on the Internet,” says Williamson. Her design provides a more secure fit and includes a filter pocket.

She created the design after consulting with everyone from quilters and seamstresses to physicians and engineers. But, she says, it’s important for people not to go out and get supplies in order to create these.

“In times of crisis, we can all step up in our own ways. Right now, that includes staying at home. For me, staying home includes working on this,” says Williamson.

She recommends people use what they have on hand, from unused fabrics to cut-up furnace filters, or even vacuum cleaner bags, for the filter pockets.

Williamson says that both she and a retired physician she collaborated with on the project have family members on staff at clinics in Willmar, MN, and the shortage is real.

“Everywhere there is a shortage of personal protective equipment. We’re trying to get ahead of it,” she says.

“Ideally, enough real masks are available for all who need them, and this design never gets used, but I wanted to share this for those who might need it.”

View step-by-step instructions of Williamson's design (PDF) as well as instructions for the filters (PDF)Note: Vacuum bags are no longer recommended for use as a filter material.

*The CDC has established strategies for optimizing the supply of face masks during times of “Crisis capacity,” which includes the use of masks far less capable than Williamson’s design.

Learn more about Williamson's educational pathway in this video.