Confessions of a Summer Intern: Kaitlynn Parrott’s Journey

Kaitlynn Parrott, an Advertising and Graphic Design major, interned this summer with the James R. Connor University Center at UW-Whitewater. In case you didn’t know, there are many great internship opportunities with offices and departments across the UW-W campus. The University Center and Career & Leadership Development are just two examples of campus departments that offer internships.

Over the course of the summer, Kaitlynn grew as both a designer and a young professional. And she’s not done yet! Kaitlynn will continue her internship into the fall semester before graduating in December 2012.

Just in case you missed it, read Kaitlynn Parrott’s internship journey this summer:

Kaitlynn Parrott

Kaitlynn at Sumer on the Mall

Unconventional Canvases

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Confessions of a Summer Intern: Expectations Exceeded

Kaitlynn wraps up her summer blogging, but not her internship. In case you missed it, you can catch up on Kaitlynn’s internship in her June post and July post.

The rumors are true, summer is almost over!

June and July are but a memory in my rear view. It’s hard to think these last two months have flown by so fast. In such a short amount of time I’ve gained so much experience and can honestly say have enjoyed every day. I know, however, that my time here at the James R. Connor University Center is not over and I still have many more days to further myself as a designer.

Poster by Kaitlynn Parrott
Unconventional Canvases

“Unconventional Canvases” exhibit that I designed the poster for.”
UC Unconventional Canvases

I’ve been lucky enough to receive the opportunity to carry this internship into this fall semester. I will be taking classes and working at the University Center throughout the whole semester. I am getting credit for my fall term as well and am very excited I could manage to use my internship towards credits. The way I look at it is I’m getting rewarded by doing something I love, getting paid for it, and doing it for school. Who knew there was a class I could get paid for and enjoy?

Unlike other internships my classmates and friends have had, I was fortunate enough to receive a paycheck. But it meant so much more than that. Not only has this internship been rewarding to my pocketbook, but also to my overall confidence and knowledge in creating and distributing promotional material. In the future, I know I will be able to look back at this opportunity I received and be so grateful. Of course I’m grateful right now, but whatever comes my way, I’ll know where I got my start and the place I established myself and became confident in myself.

I’ve mentioned in my other posts how in this short amount of time I’ve grown in all positive ways. I am still becoming more confident in my skills and learning new things every day. There are so many different techniques and shortcuts I’ve been taught or have mastered just by repetition on various programs I use to design like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. For those who know me, they would be shocked to know that, yes it’s true, I’ve even become more organized.

I like to consider my organization skills chaotically precise, but since this internship, I have bought a planner, created an organizational technique for clothes and shoes, and managed to rename and categorize my personal files on my laptop and USB drives. Big change!

At the start of my internship, I was overwhelmed but ready to work hard and make sure I could show my potential to my boss and coworkers. I was unsure of what would happen but wanted to excel in every possible way, have others like my ideas, and if not, help to make ideas merge. As the days have gone by, I have had my expectations not only met but gone steps further. I was able to apply knowledge I had to further prosper my idea of how the real world will work. One of those things being deadlines.

The University Center held a Senior Painted Jars Workshop.
UC Painted Jars

Recently, there have been so many projects to work on that have specific deadlines to be met. And though it can be stressful to meet them, it’s beneficial to my overall work ethic. I know I can’t dink around and must stay focused to complete my tasks to my full ability. It can be overwhelming at times with many graphic request forms. Graphic request forms are specific directions to what kind of information each designer needs to complete a project. The detailed forms have the necessary items to complete a project and are a great tool we use at the University Center.

For other students, I know the summer is reserved for the beach, tanning oil, and cookouts. But for me, it was all of those things plus the satisfaction of working at a job that I loved and gained experience. I enjoyed my summer more than I expected and for working two jobs and still having time to spend with friends, I can’t complain.

The only thing ending for me soon is the summer and thus I do not possess the feeling of departure toward my internship. The feeling of departure however applies to this blog. Since this is my last blog post for the summer internship program I decided I should give some advice. Though I’m not one to ever give, just receive words of wisdom, I feel like this is my position to give some.

For those who are unsure about what you want to do in the future, just try the things you might want to do. You never know what could come of it. With my double major in Graphic Design and Advertising, I was never quite sure which one I would prefer. Coming into this internship, I was hesitant because I knew I needed work on my skills as a designer. Low and behold, this position has opened up my eyes. I’ve realized how much I love the overall feeling of creating something from my mind that others will see and that grabs their attention enough to stop and read the information. It’s a win-win situation. I create posters and signs for events for things that matter. They have substance to them since they are all events dealing with, featuring, or at the University Center. A place so close to all of us students here at Whitewater and they need to be recognized for such great opportunities offered to the students here.

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Faster than a Hungry Cheetah

Kaitlynn is back with her second post for the summer. Meet Kaitlynn in her first post.

Since my last post I have been keeping very busy! My time has gone faster than a hungry cheetah. There is always something to create because of the many events that need posters and promotional materials here at the University Center. To be honest, I was surprised at the amount of projects I have been given considering it’s summer. I’m not complaining of course, because I enjoy never being bored and always keeping busy and… it’s air-conditioned at work.

From the start of my internship, I have been creating digital signage for the James R. Connor University Center front entrance that gives information on upcoming events, featured gallery work, general information about the University Center, and important reminders. This is a process I will continue to work on. But when other projects with stricter deadlines come along, I put the digital signage to the side for the time being.

I have been designing promotional material for Roberta’s Art Gallery and their upcoming events. Recently, the three events I designed for were an artist exhibit called Imagination: Building Castles in the Sky, a free workshop entitled Decoupage Frames, and another artist exhibit deemed Unconventional Canvases. Imagination: Building Castles in the Sky was an exhibit that displayed a variety of shadow boxes and 2D artwork by a self-taught artist named Leah Jurgens. This exhibit ended July 6th and in it’s place Unconventional Canvases will be shown. Artist Ann Windell will display her paintings that she put on windows and doors.

There are many projects I work on that aren’t seen by the public that consist of materials seen by employees and individual departments. This material is mostly invitations, reminders, and updates.

An event many people in the University Center and others help create is our Summer on the Malls. This is a series of events on three different days. At each event there are efforts to raise money for different local organizations. The last Summer on the Mall on June 14th was called World’s Fair. The picture below is two other employees and I (center) working this event.

Kaitlynn at Sumer on the Mall

The upcoming Summer on the Mall on July 18th, Tropical Island, is currently in the makes. Check out the website to see our menu and events! There will even be a DUNK TANK!

Summer on the Mall

There is a lot of “revamping” of material, if you will. I redo different permanent posters, informational signs, and other material in that category that needs some updating. I like the kind of work where I get to make something that seems boring simply come alive. It’s a valuable talent I believe to posses helps in becoming successful.

A challenge I’ve faced is being able to come up with new ideas that aren’t generic for a certain client. What I mean is, there are times where I’ll do three projects for the same client and focus on every design being different from the others, yet have similar qualities and stand out as a well without making the design look like it’s been done one hundred times by one hundred different people. I overcome this by doing massive amounts of brainstorming and searching for different images that can inspire me for a new and improved design.

I’m learning so much in the ability to adjust my ideas, various color schemes, and overall tactics depending on the client. Certain departments posses different standards and brand identity, so it’s important to understand, interpret, and produce a result that is consistent with those ideas.

As a designer, I’ve learned to manage my time more wisely. Before, I would set aside this huge chunk of time that I needed to get a project done and think I had to use every minute. But in reality, if something takes you less time, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t as good of an idea or design that took twice as much time. This has also made me a more confident designer. I believe in the designs I create and no matter the time spent, I have more confidence in my work than in the past. Instead of just having one professor tell you he or she likes or dislikes your design in class, it’s sent to be printed and given a final review which means it’s complete. I value this because you can learn many things in the classroom, but it isn’t until you get into a real world situation that you realize the potential to grow.

Recently a few of us got together and explored Whitewater Lake. Our Assistant Director taught us how to water ski and kneeboard. It was a fun experience for us all to get together and do something outside of the office. Some people, of course, were more successful than others, but I won’t name names 🙂

It’s hard to think the summer is half over and at this rate, the amount I’ve learned in this short amount of time, I’m excited to see how much more is in store.

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Meet Kaitlynn Parrott

Kaitlynn Parrott

Hello everyone!

My name is Kaitlynn Parrott and I am a Graphic Design Intern at the James R. Connor University Center right here on campus. I started my internship in May and have enjoyed it since the first day. I’m a senior this year double majoring in Graphic Design and Journalism with an Advertising emphasis graduating in December. This internship, lucky for me, was able to cover both of my majors at the same time.

I’m an active board member for Whitewater Advertising Association (WAA) and a photographer for The Royal Purple.

When searching for internships and resume builders, students tend to look over the opportunities so close to home, literally. There are so many chances to excel and become successful right here on campus. I myself am guilty of such practices in the past and was so grateful for this opportunity.

The University Center is a great place to not only work, but enjoy your time. There are so many gallery showings, free workshops, useful resources, fun events, and a great atmosphere – it’s hard not to love it. I didn’t realize until I started designing for the UC the great things our university has to offer. Most of the time the events are free, and who as a college kid says no to free stuff? Being here for even this short amount of time, it’s disappointing that I didn’t pay more attention to on-campus activities in the past, but that has all changed now!

As a graphic designer for the University Center, I help in assisting with the promotional needs of many different departments inside the UC. We produce many materials such as posters, brochures, digital signage, web banners, t-shirts, and much more. Everyone works together as a team to produce successful campaigns. All of the employees work hard to maintain the proficient standards of the UC and to make it beneficial for every student, faculty member, and guest.

I have worked as a waitress for over five years and have learned the importance of customer satisfaction. This skill has taken effect in my internship because since we do deal with clients, their happiness is the most important thing. I’m learning to adapt to the client’s needs and not my own.

A rewarding thing about being a graphic designer for the University Center is being able to actually see your work in action. It’s nice to walk past a poster you made and think to yourself, “Yeah, I made that,” or walk past a coworker’s and think, “She really did a great job on that.”

Hanging some posters in the UC.
Hanging Posters in the UC

The people I work with are also one of my favorite parts of my internship. Everyone is so friendly and always accompanied by a smile. Whenever anyone or I need help, there is always someone ready to answer any question or assist in any way they can.

Discussing graphic options and choosing which color palette is the best for a poster.
Kaitlynn and Coworkers

I’m very eager to see what the rest of the summer has in store for me. I’m anticipating a great summer and will continue to keep you updated in my future posts!