Name: Linda McDonagh
Type of Project: Internship
This summer, I interned with the marketing department of MedAmerica (an organization that provides operations support to a nationwide physician’s group) in the Bay Area. This internship was relevant to my in-progress degree for Marketing, and my responsibilities focused largely on a semimonthly internal communications newsletter on a commonly-used web platform, assisting in preparation for a new launch, and redesigning archives and databases for optimum user experience.
I think the biggest realization I had while completing this internship was that I would like to focus more so on my design minor. In my previous internship, I worked as both design and marketing intern, and found that I greatly enjoyed the design aspects of my work. While I enjoyed my internship experience, I did miss that aspect in my everyday life. Looking forward, I am concentrating my job search efforts on obtaining either an entry-level position/internship as a designer or continuing my education further in design.
I also noticed another large change from my previous internship; there is a large difference between working for a large company and for a start-up in its infancy. My first internship was in a half-a-year old tech start-up, and I felt things often moved faster as there were less complications in any given decision-making process. Still, while working for a larger organization, I found that things may have taken longer or required more information-sharing meetings, but there was more direction and ultimately results.
As I previously mentioned, the greatest change I faced throughout the course of my STEP project was my realization that I wanted to focus more so on design rather than marketing. While I enjoy much of what marketing entails, I believe that design is a better option for me due to the creativity that it allows. I also found that I did not find my work quite as compelling, interesting, or fulfilling as I did when working with more design-oriented projects. For example, when I had the opportunity to redesign and test out different user experiences for the team’s databases, I was able to immerse myself completely in the work. Overall, I simply found these projects more personally valuable – though not less important – than some of the more marketing-oriented ones I contributed to.
Another contributing factor to this was my relationship with my supervisor during my internship. He was the lead graphic designer and was gracious enough to spend several hours reviewing his most often utilized tips and tricks for corporate design, as well as some approaches to the overall design process. These really opened my eyes to what design is like within a larger team made up of many members – each with their own opinion. I found these workshops to be extremely insightful and useful, and I firmly believe I will be able to use what I learn in the future.
I also had the experience of being able to speak to, view presentations of projects, and at times shadow other designers on the team and found that while their time constraints seemed daunting, they genuinely enjoyed their jobs and collaborating with their coworkers. These types of experiences were some of the highlights of my internship, and I would love to be able to replicate this experience in my own career.
Today, I am looking for my next step for after my graduation in December. I am currently considering two options, although both relate to my newfound goal of focusing my career on design. The first option is to look for a junior or entry-level position for design, and the second is to pursue and complete a design internship to gain more experience and later approach the first option. While I do this, I am working on my own to continue developing my skills, particularly in graphic design and typography.
For more about my experience, including photos, please feel free to look through the blog I kept during the duration of my STEP project here.