They’re Not Your Parents’ Internships

By Jim Norrena, Editor and Content Manager at California College of the Arts

What’s the best career move a student can make? Contrary to what you may think, it’s not necessarily choosing one’s major – or even the college itself. Today what matters most is whether a graduate has internship experience. In fact, employers typically seek only candidates who can demonstrate they already possess the experiential learning required for most creative jobs.

Jackson They’re Not Your Parents’ InternshipsAccording to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 83 percent of employers avoid hiring graduates who don’t have experiential learning listed on their résumé. Add to this the findings of a recent SNAPP (Strategic National Arms Alumni Project) report that revealed 59 percent of internships translate into jobs, and it becomes pretty clear internships are a solid win-win career direction, securing greater return on investment for both employer and intern alike.

In addition to academic credit or added income, or both, interns also get to “test drive” their careers, make valuable connections and grow their networks, witness how their degrees can put them in practice, and develop the skills that relate best to their career goals.

Interning is key to preparing yourself for real-world challenges in any given field that requires real-world solutions. Students and colleges now more than ever recognize the value of interning: According to Forbes magazine, 80 percent of graduating college students at the top U.S. universities have had at least one internship.

Here’s what a sampling of undergraduate and graduate California College of the Arts design students and alumni say about their internship experiences working for some of today’s most innovative design and technology leaders:

sam bertain moto web They’re Not Your Parents’ Internships“I had no idea what to expect,” admits Google Glass team industrial design intern Leslie Greene, who worked closely on a cross-discipline team of graphic designers, architects, marketing specialists, mechanical and electrical engineers, and manufacturers. “Working alongside these individuals has given me the chance to gain knowledge of other aspects of product development that are in reality so dependent upon each other. I have been able to bring the skills I’ve learned in school and utilizing them in the context of a real product, an invaluable experience.”

Design intern Juan Ignacio Correa boasts: “Intel is one of the largest and most influential technology companies in the world — with over 105,000 employees. It offers the opportunity to work on projects that will impact the lives of millions of people around the planet. … The internship provided me with a small, agile team, independent form big, corporate decisions and one that was capable of moving at the pace required for a fluent design process.”

“What’s unique about Motorola,” explains design intern Samuel Bertain, “is its emphasis on design and its philosophy on humanizing consumer electronics not to be only technologically cutting edge, but personal, approachable, and beautiful. … One of the most important things I’ve learned is how to work in the real world of design — how immense an undertaking it is to develop and make a product come to life and the speed at which the other designers work.”

“I didn’t know that it would lead to one of the most successful and exciting summers of my life,” says Graphic Design senior Ben Wasserman, referring to his brand design internship at Flipboard, a Palo Alto-based startup. “I had access to private events hosted by portfolio companies that brought together engineering and design luminaries from such Silicon Valley leaders as Amazon, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Google, Nest, and Twitter!”

Graphic designer Rayniel Estrella is currently interning at Bay Area frog design, a company that has expanded from industrial design to software and into the full set of experiences people have with a brand. They have global teams who solve systemic problems, identify hidden opportunities, and bring new products to market. “At frog there’s also a higher-level dedication to making with intention, which breeds excellent teamwork. … I find myself using the skills I honed at CCA: problem solving, critical thinking, research, and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Graduate design student Carolyn Packer says of her internship as a visual designer at Townsquared (a private online network structured around neighborhoods, allowing small businesses to connect, communicate, and collaborate with each other): “One of the most rewarding things about my position is getting to have touch points with person on every team in the company. Not only am I practicing and growing as a visual designer, but also I’m learning all of the ins and outs of how to grow a start-up.”

Vivek Shah describes her design internship at Ziba Design, a design and innovation consultancy headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with satellite offices in San Diego, Munich, and Tokyo, as “unique because of the wide range of work they do ranging from products to services to spaces. And because of the variety of projects they take on, they attract diverse talent. … My experience has been very rewarding so far.”

Last fall, fashion design alumnus Sam Howell was the lead intern with the Diane Von Fürstenberg (DVF) fashion team at the DVF exhibit, Journey of a Dress, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “It was an eye-opening experience,” says Howell. “I worked with an internationally renowned designer and her staff — learning from them every step of the way, which allowed me to open myself up to new aspects of the industry. I learned about merchandizing, marketing, and brand. I gained a deeper understanding of the industry I was about to join and the confidence to tackle all the challenges of the years ahead.”

suwanna R They’re Not Your Parents’ Internships“The time I spent at Turner Duckworth, an award-winning visual identity and packaging design agency, as a junior designer has been brief, but full of valuable lessons,” recalls designer Suwanna Ruayrinsaowarot, who worked within a team of creatives that allowed her to achieve various hands-on experiences from creating professional mockups to packaging designs. “The experience has been enriching and insightful in many different aspect of life. … They have all been a great source of inspiration for me. I am motivated to discover what I want to do in this field in the future.”

Senior graphic design student Jack Koloskus completed a design internship at Moving Brands, an independent, global creative company that partners with established and emerging businesses to design and transform their brands and experiences to thrive in the moving world. “One of the things that drew me to Moving Brands is their willingness to explore experimental and new-media solutions and approaches to problems and clients that many other places wouldn’t consider. … It was a wonderful experience.”

So whether you’re looking at colleges or are currently enrolled, know which companies and organizations are nearby. Find the ones that interest you most. Then investigate which career service resources you have access to. Now you’re ready to jumpstart your career.

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Bill Eaton, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Bill Eaton, BCMT ’90: Sweet Success

An expert with more than 20 years of beverage and consumer goods packaging development experience, Bill Eaton, director of R&D packaging engineering and

Eaton NEW2 Bill Eaton, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Bill Eaton

innovation in the Global Beverages Group at PepsiCo, got into the packaging field more or less by chance.

After graduating from Wentworth, the construction management major entered a bleak job market in the early 1990s. He nearly accepted a project management position in Kuwait before starting his own business remodeling kitchens and bathrooms in his native Connecticut. A client happened to be a human resources officer at Cadbury Schweppes.

“She mentioned a job in their packaging lab,” Eaton says. “She said, ‘it’s kind of technical—you might be interested.” At his interview, Eaton was introduced to workers who were measuring and testing bottles and thinking, “This is probably not for me.” But when he was offered a position with the company, he took it.

“One of the first projects I worked on was called Mott’s in a Minute,” Eaton recalls. “It was a shelf-stable juice concentrate in a can—the first of its kind. We spent a lot of time in our pilot plant running these cans and testing them. That technical detail was really interesting to me.”

Eaton moved to Pepsico in 2007. His first project was one that had challenged colleagues for years—designing a one-gallon PET bottle for Lipton tea with an integrated snap-on handle.

“I used a lot of the knowledge I retained from school to design the structural elements that were hidden inside the handle,” Eaton says. “I recalled bridge theory to design the handle so it wouldn’t bend, and worked with designers to integrate the handle design.” The end product—including the handle and cap—was lighter than the competition’s bottle alone. It was a hit.

Today, Eaton leads a group that works with marketing teams and design agencies to take bottles and other packaging innovations from concept to development. His latest project involved moving Pepsi—which had been in the same bottle for nearly 16 years—and other core brands into new bottle designs.

“It’s really about keeping the brand fresh and connected with the consumer,” Eaton says. The latest 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottle, he explains, “is kind of edgy. It fits with the consumer who drinks Mountain Dew—the gamer, the skateboarder. The package has design elements that specifically point out those attributes, and consumers really pick up on them.”

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Hannah Blount, University of Massachusetts-CVPA

Hannah Blount Image NEW Hannah Blount, University of Massachusetts CVPA

Hannah Blount

Hannah Blount, an enthused designer and jeweler, has been creating jewelry since she was 6 years old.  Hannah’s inspiration originates from the charming island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. She was born and raised on this picturesque island along with her six siblings. With influences from her father, Bill Blount, a fisherman and mother, Ruth Blount, a seamstress, Hannah inherited her parents’ proficient hand skills and work ethic. Much of Nantucket’s scenic aspects inspired her to create beauty of her own. With the aid of a bead book she was given, Hannah started making simple earrings and necklaces for her friends and family. Over time, her rudimentary designs developed into advanced metalwork, and she has incorporated an organic and sophisticated aesthetic to her work.

Hannah Blount graduated from Nantucket High School in 2004, the same year she was awarded her Nantucket Arts Council Scholarship. Hannah applied her award funds toward her education at University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth. The appreciation Hannah felt for the support she received from her island community impelled her to work diligently through her years at UMass. She graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Jewelry and Metals. She is listed on UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts Jewelry and Metals Alumni Accomplishments site. She has also been included as emerging artist in August 2010 New York Accessories trade show at Jacob Javitts Center in New York City.

Upon graduating, Hannah developed up her studio and began Hannah Blount Jewelry located in Harvard Square in Boston, Mass. Her shop now has one employee, as well as a representative who assists her with her wholesale accounts. Hannah also has a retail website and is productively earning a living full-time doing what she is so passionate about, designing and creating remarkable jewelry.

Website: HannahBlount.com

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Shinique Smith, School of the Museum of Fine Arts

04. Artist Shinique Smith NEW Shinique Smith, School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Shinique Smith, Credit: Eric Wolfe, Courtesy James Cohan Gallery; Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Shinique Smith’s art practice is influenced by a need to recreate the feeling of discovery she had as a child, when she combined what was available to make a toy or a costume. Her work, which combines everything from calligraphy, collage, and graffiti to recycled fabrics, garments, and a vast array of consumed and discarded everyday items, examines how these objects, when intricately recomposed, can resonate on a personal and social scale.

Smith returns to Boston this fall in a big way with her first solo exhibition in New England— BRIGHT MATTER —on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) through March 1, 2015. This survey of 30 abstract works—

01. Splendid NEW Shinique Smith, School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Splendid2014 Ink, acrylic, fabric and collage, ribbon, rope and yarn on wood panel * Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai *Image credit: Adam Reich *© Shinique Smith *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

including 14 new works—explores the powerful spectrum of human expression that, for Smith, “leans toward joy.” She has also been commissioned by the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy to create a large-scale temporary mural, Seven Moons Junction, in Boston’s downtown Dewey Square to be unveiled in late September 2014.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Md., Smith completed a Master of Arts in Teaching, Art Education in 2000 at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA)/Tufts University while also working full time with high school students. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1992 and a Master of Fine Arts in 2003 from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Smith has risen to international acclaim in the past decade, with exhibitions at institutions like Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin, Germany), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Calif.), and the Studio Museum in Harlem (N.Y.). A recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, among others, she lives and works in upstate New York.

Learn more about Shinique and her work at http://shiniquesmith.com/.

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Raji Mandelkorn, Santa Fe University of Art

Using the Power of Cinema to Address Global Crises

Santa Fe Alumna Co-Produces a Sundance Selection, Testifies How Her Experiences in New Mexico Have Influenced Her

Alumnus NEW Raji Mandelkorn, Santa Fe University of Art

Raji Mandelkorn

Muscle Shoals, a documentary that celebrates FAME Studios founder Rick Hall, was a 2013 Sundance and South by Southwest (SXSW) selection. Raji Mandelkorn, the Santa Fe, New Mexico alumna who co-produced the film, reflects on her time working on the production, and on studying in the Land of Enchantment.

“The memorable parts of production were the shoots with the cast and crew down in Alabama,” said Mandelkorn, a 2008 graduate of College of Santa Fe (now Santa Fe University of Art and Design) who began as production manager on the film but took over line producer duties after the first shoot. “We all worked really long, hard hours and we enjoyed it. Muscle Shoals [Alabama] really is a special place with sweet people. Production is a party, and everybody gets a little tense and excited about it. Relationships get stronger on those multi-channel, walkie-talkie productions by the river far from home. It’s nice to have a budget and work with talented people. Whom you work with is about as important as what you’re working on.”

Filming 2 NEW Raji Mandelkorn, Santa Fe University of ArtMandelkorn added that entertainment and cinema arts still have plenty of room for experimentation and originality, and she encourages young filmmakers to push the envelope every day. She said she’s particularly proud to work on projects that have social value.

Filming 3 NEW Raji Mandelkorn, Santa Fe University of ArtMandelkorn first traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2012 to bring witness to the extreme violence against women and children plagued by the mineral wars, lawlessness, corruption and small arms proliferation in the eastern part of the country. That visit has developed into a narrative music/film project called Listening to Buyungule. She traveled to the DRC again in 2013, where she focused on the Pygmies of Buyungule and young street musicians in neighboring Kigali, Rwanda.

Mandelkorn noted that her time studying in Santa Fe has greatly influenced her filmmaking today.

“I tell you, my applied education and skills, including written comprehension and verbal communications, photography, design, video, research and knowledge of programs like Photoshop and Final Cut, make me one hell of a valuable asset to a small, independent digital movie production company with funds and potential,” she said. “… It’s been really thrilling to have our movie, Muscle Shoals, get a theatrical distribution deal with Magnolia Pictures and go to theaters. But then to find out that it’s coming to Santa Fe just because Brent [Kliewer], curator at The Screen has to have it, well that is just full-circle, cherry-on-top, sweet serendipity—and a great review where it counts.”

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