Experience that Counts
Name: Lizzy Palacios
BFA 2023 - Concentration in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History
Positions: Connect Transit Marketing Internship
How did you find your internship opportunity/opportunities?
I expressed my interest in doing an internship for class credit to Julie Johnson, Director of the School of Art & Design, towards the end of my junior year. She worked alongside Patrick Zajac in the Career Center to find me this great opportunity that lasted the entirety of my senior year.
What kind of work do they do?
Connect Transit is the official public transportation system for Bloomington-Normal. It consists of many different departments including Bus Drivers, Dispatchers, Admin, and Customer Service. I was hired as an intern for the marketing department, which is in charge of public relations, selling advertising, maintaining public image, and pretty much anything regarding the company’s relationship to the public. Suffice it to say, this was a great opportunity for me to get a first taste at maintaining and promoting brand identity through design.
What did you do there?
Most of what I did at Connect Transit was design advertising, as well as communications both within the company and public outreach. I also got the opportunity to set up and attend marketing events, which, while not directly design related, did give me a great deal of experience in marketing that has come in really handy on my resume.
Tell us about one of your favorite projects.
By far my favorite projects were the designs I had the opportunity to make for a couple of their vehicles. During the time I was there, I designed the wraps for two buses that you might still see roaming the streets of Bloomington/Normal. Although I graduated before being able to see through this project, I did aid in the beginning stages of designing vehicle wraps for their newly implemented Microtransit system. These projects were so great in the sense that I got to flex my creative muscles and make use of the tools Illinois Wesleyan provided during my time there to actually see major projects like this through.
What did you learn from this experience?
I learned so much with Connect Transit. Besides the exposure this internship gave me to the marketing/design world, it was also just a great first taste of the experience of working in an office environment and becoming familiar with professional procedures. I also got a better idea of myself and the way that I work, which will make it much easier for me post graduation.
How did your education at IWU prepare you for this experience?
The School of Art & Design taught me rules of design, technique, and gave me an opportunity to explore visual mediums outside of graphic design that I love!
How has this experience shaped your understanding or interest in this field?
This experience made it so much easier to know where to start once I graduated. With the opportunity to use my design skills for brand marketing, I feel much more confident about knowing where to look and knowing what I already had a knack for in the broad design realm come post-graduation.
Name: Luisa Jhong Chung
Class of 2023
Positions: Shiro Oni and SBDC
As an international student from Peru, pursuing a double major in Graphic Design and Business, I hoped to fit at least one internship into my schedule during my time at Illinois Wesleyan. Fortunately, I was able to complete two internships that were complementary to my academic interests. My first internship was offered through IWU’s Freeman Asia Program, an internship opportunity that sends approximately thirty IWU student interns to Asian countries over the summer.
My placement was at Shiro Oni, an art studio and art residency program, located in Onishi, Japan. They provide a space for artists to develop and showcase their craft and artistic expression while experiencing a new culture. As an intern, I focused on printed advertising, as well as digital content creation and web design management. In addition to work, we had time to travel and meet amazing people in Onishi.
My second internship was with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC offers free guidance and advice to new small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to start and/or expand their business(es). One of my favorite projects was developing the brand and logo for an online business in Bloomington-Normal. Consulting with the client was a very insightful experience. Listening and understanding the specific needs of the client made the design process a much more personalized and impactful experience for me. In addition, this project took the duration of about four months so it was very special to me to see it take form.
Both internship experiences involved work relating to my majors and gave me a glimpse into the real-world of marketing and design. Ultimately, these experiences helped to shape my interest in branding and packaging.
My education at IWU was very informative and helpful to me during my internship experiences. Being at a liberal arts institution, I have been exposed to many interdisciplinary perspectives through my diverse set of coursework. The combination of art classes (visual culture, graphic design image/narrative/typography, and advanced web design) and business classes (organizational management, strategy and policy, and consumer behavior) gave me the necessary tools to confidently go into my internships.
Name: Hieu Vu
Class of 2019
Position: Motion Design Intern
Summer 2018, I completed an internship at 90 Degrees West, a studio that produces video, advertisements, television spots, and web ads for companies and organizations. I found the internship by posting my show reel on a subreddit for the position of motion designer and inquired about summer internships. One of the designers from 90 Degrees West viewed my post and contacted me to setup an interview and visit the studio a few days later.
I worked as part of the motion design team, which consists of two other designers. I was fortunate to be involved in several projects from start to finish, allowing me to see the whole process of video production. I was able to attend client calls, create storyboards for the brief, style framing, animation and editing. We created a new campaign for ValleyHealth, a health organization in St. Louis, and the project brief allowed for some creativity, but also specific design expertise. The team worked late several evenings and that experience allowed me to build good friendships with the other designers. This internship helped me gain real-world knowledge that I could not have received in the classroom. The other two designers had 10 years of experience in motion and video. They taught me important things about software and it was interesting to see their creative vision for the projects we were working on.
My education at IWU helped me to hone my craft and creative problem solving skills. The design classes have taught me how to present my work in a professional way. My graphic design professors helped me tremendously in applying for this internship and preparing for the interview. This internship experience has completely cemented my interest in motion design and I am motivated to enter the industry after graduation! My understanding has expanded beyond making good-looking work to understanding the value of communicating with clients, taking feedback seriously and continuing to learn new software beyond what I am comfortable with. Get an Internship! It’s an experience that will completely change your outlook. Also, don’t be afraid to share your work and reach out to companies. You never know where your next job will come from.
The Hart Career Center coordinates the centralized campus internship program and maintains Handshake, an updated online database of internships and post-graduate jobs. IWU students also have access to Internships.com, a large internship database with over 13,000 listings.
Illinois Wesleyan is affiliated with the Washington Semester Program at American University
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