In order to graduate from the Graphic Design program at Black Hills State University, I am required to have an internship of 150 hours, and each hour needs to be logged, notes need to be taken, and examples of my work need to be provided. I was on the hunt for an internship when Rick had brought it to my attention Evergreen Media hires interns.
Although that was the first encounter I had with Rick the Owner and Publisher of Evergreen Media, I knew Rick the Dedicated Coach long before that. I grew up living in the world of softball, and spent many weekends watching and learning from Rick, as he coached my sister. Since my time here at Evergreen I have realized Rick the Dedicated Coach, and Rick the Owner and Publisher of Evergreen Media, aren’t that much different. He took a chance with me – just as he did with the many girls he has coached over the years.
When I came to Evergreen Media to fill out paperwork, I was taken to Rick’s office and was told, “The field of Graphic Design can be tough, so you need to have thick skin. Come to work every day looking professional, ready to learn, and make me proud.” I left that meeting wanting to be nothing less than the best intern I could be, for him and the rest of the team of Evergreen Media.
As a Graphic Design intern, I am involved in the brainstorming and the development of designs to create effective advertisements that are appealing to the eye. I spend a lot of time on my computer researching and looking at past designs to get inspiration for new projects. John, the Creative Director, critiques each of my designs and provides suggestions to improve my work. Over the last couple months, I have designed coupons for the Impact magazine, advertisements for the Black Hills Parent website, an email campaign for the Black Hills Coupon Book, and an editorial page layout for the Black Hills Parent magazine.
Designing isn’t the only thing I do as an intern, though. I was involved with the Main Street Square Kids Carnival and got to spend the afternoon playing yard games with kids and connecting with Black Hills Parent subscribers. Evergreen Media also hosted the Nurses of Excellence banquet to recognize outstanding nurses of the Black Hills and I was fortunate enough to take photos of the event alongside the staff photographer Jesse Brown Nelson. The team also attended the unveiling of Ascent Innovation as Evergreen launched their rebranded for the new project. It is very humbling to see the impact this team has throughout the community and the Black Hills region.
I also had the opportunity to takeover the Evergreen Media Instagram for two days and show behind the scenes of what life as an intern is like. I had so much fun showing people what I do every day and why I love being an intern. I was taken aback by all the support I received from friends, family, and even local businesses. I have never done anything like that before, but I have found a new love for social media marketing.
A typical day at the office is usually pretty quiet as people are hard at work, but we do find time to come together as a team. We have walked to Armadillo’s for ice cream, played hopscotch outside, and for an afternoon snack we indulged on some crickets. I’m not a professional food taster, but I can tell you crickets are very similar to eating sunflower seeds whole. I walked into Evergreen with calamari being the most exotic food I’ve eaten, and I am now leaving with salt and vinegar crickets added to the list. We have a wide spectrum of team bonding activities, to say the least.
There is often a negative connotation paired with the idea of being an intern. To some companies, interns are hired to do the mindless grunt work that no one else wants to do. That is far from the truth at Evergreen. Since my internship started, I have been taught more about the field of Graphic Design than I have in my five semesters of college combined. I am challenged every day to incorporate techniques into my designs I have never used before. I have also learned how to be a team player, work independently, and I have started to understand that difficult feedback is better than no feedback at all. Those are all things that a textbook can’t teach.
I am leaving Evergreen with real life experience, tips and tricks I can use for future designs, and a network of people who are really good at what they do. There is something incredibly special about the people I work with, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to learn from.
If you are in the field of Graphic Design, Marketing, or Photography, and looking for an internship – that doesn’t consist of coffee runs for the boss, and making copies all day – you’ve stumbled upon a great opportunity to gain real life experience.