Ferris State University students gain valuable work experience through internships. Internships also can confirm or redirect career decision-making, provide marketability, develop people skills and enhance classroom learning. Many academic programs require one, but the experience is encouraged regardless to provide students with a better understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace.
Many students are participating in myriad internships this summer. Meet: Bethany Sonefeld
She is: A senior from Ludington, Mich., majoring in Graphic Design
Internship: ESPN, the sports-focused cable television network, in Bristol, Conn., whose mission is “To serve sports fans wherever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about or played.” This summer, Bethany gets to help put that mission into motion during a paid 10-week internship.
What she’s learning: As a Digital Media Intern for ESPN.com’s editorial design team, Bethany’s responsibilities include creating graphics, testing the mobile redesign or designing headers for feature stories online. She also has been able to shadow different departments, such as the User Testing Group.
“More than ever, my internship has helped confirm my career choice,” Bethany said. “Working at ESPN has opened my eyes to many different areas of the design field and how I can use my skills and talents to contribute.”
Favorite experience: Bethany attends the in-house design team’s weekly meetings to discuss current projects.
“Being able to give my feedback and have other designers value my opinion is extremely rewarding,” she said. “I’m able to see the progress behind large-scale projects and see how they evolve and grow throughout the design phases.”
Core values: Bethany’s internship exhibits Ferris’ core values of opportunity and collaboration.
“Working for such a large company has allowed me the opportunity to shadow different departments and get exposure,” she said. “It has also given me the opportunity to meet hundreds of people that I can network with and that have already helped me advance in my career. And collaboration because it is crucial as a designer to collaborate with your peers and coworkers, to bounce ideas off each other and to give and receive critiques of your work.”
On campus: Bethany, who is secretary of Ferris’ chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts and a member of the Red Cross Club, said she felt well-prepared for her internship.
“The Graphic Design program at Ferris has prepared me more than I could have ever hoped for,” she said. “My business background has allowed me to feel comfortable in such a corporate setting, and I’m able to use the knowledge from my marketing classes and relate that to the design world. My professors not only taught me the skills I need to stand out as a designer, but they also taught me how to speak and present my work well.
“There are a lot of deadlines working in a corporate world, and the rigorous schedule that students go through in the Graphic Design program really does prepare you for a real-world setting.”
Her plan: After she graduates in May, Bethany hopes to find a job working as a junior print/web designer or as a user experience designer.