By Andrew Aguilera,
Stillman News Editor
Megan Sundberg is a junior, majoring in marketing and minoring in graphic design and advertising art. She will also earn certificates in Leadership Studies, Market Research, and Entrepreneurial Studies. She is from Jefferson Township, New Jersey. On campus, she is involved in the Gerald P. Buccino ’63 Center for Leadership Development, Zeta Tau Alpha, PirateThon, and Marketing Club. This past summer, she had the opportunity to intern at GAF. The Stillman Exchange team interviewed her to learn more about her internship experience.
Q: What were your responsibilities as an intern?
A: As a creative services intern at GAF, my responsibilities involved creating and editing various marketing collateral for the company. This included print material like brochures, postcards, and sell sheets as well as digital content.
I worked on many pieces that are on the website as well as print collateral that is in use in the United States, Canada and Europe.
A few of the bigger projects I worked on were French brochures for Canada, which was a very cool experience.
Q: Why did you choose to apply for an internship at GAF?
A: I chose to apply for an internship at because I really liked the fact that it was a unique industry to experience. GAF is the world’s largest roofing manufacturer and it is a name that almost every homeowner in North America recognizes.
I really wanted the experience of working at a large international company.
Q: What was the most valuable skill that you learned while interning?
A: I think the most valuable skill I learned during my internship was that you cannot be afraid to step up and let your voice be heard. In a creative department, it is important that everyone offers their ideas and comes together to really implement them.
Taking the time to sit back and have a brainstorming session and working through all of the steps of the creative process is the only way to ensure that you come up with the best and most effective design for any piece you are working on.
Q: How was learning in a work environment different than learning in a classroom?
A: Learning in a work environment is different than learning in a classroom because it is a real environment with deadlines and expectations. Sitting in a graphic design class you are given an assignment and you have a few weeks to come up with exactly what you want to do. Then, you take all the time you need to perfect it. In the real world, you sometimes receive urgent deadlines and a project could need to be completed within the same day.
Q: What was the company culture like?
A: I loved the culture at GAF because everyone was so open and willing to help me with anything that I could have needed. The entire department was very close with one another and held different events for various holidays to really bring everyone together. I also loved the fact that I was able to jump right into real work that was being sent out to be used in the field. I was not just an intern that was there for the sake of being there; they really needed someone to be there in my position to do the work. I was able to see the whole creative process from start to finish. That meant that I would receive work orders and complete a request from start to finish by sending files off to print. I was always told how I was doing and how much the work I was doing was appreciated, which was a great feeling.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are actively searching for internships?
A: I think the best advice I could offer to students looking for internships would be that you cannot be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. In my first internship after my freshman year, I was working in the marketing department. On one of the first days I was there, they needed a project done in PhotoShop. The only experience I had with the software had been in my middle school photography class, but I was willing and able to jump in and give it my best shot. I was able to successfully complete the project and fell in love with the graphic design field. For the rest of the summer, I was no longer really a marketing intern but instead I was a graphic design intern. I would never have discovered how much I love graphic design nor would I have considered adding a minor in graphic design and advertising art without having been willing to take that step and help out with a project that was something I had never done before. I will forever be grateful that I was given that opportunity and that I took advantage of it because it has helped me discover the path that I want to follow after graduation.
Q: What is next for you in your career?
A: The next thing I want to do in my career is continue to work in marketing, but take a step back from the creative side. I have absolutely loved working in design, but I want to experience the research and metrics side of the field to see how I can succeed in that area. I have always loved math and to be able to work in the marketing field allows me to combine both my creative and analytical sides under the same umbrella. Whether in the end I choose to pursue marketing or graphic design, they are closely related and having the skills and knowledge from each area will benefit me no matter which field I end up pursuing after graduation.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 print edition.
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