How the HECK do I get an internship? What IS an internship anyway? How is an internship different than a job? Can I get credit for an internship? Do I NEED credit for an internship? Do I NEED an internship? Can I have multiple internships? Where do I start?
Check out Issue 1 and 2 of Let’s Get an Internship! below below for interviews between PSUGD interns and employers about their experiences. Big thanks to those that were interviewed and big thanks to A+D Projects student Whitney Mokler for organizing the design and layout of the book!
Reach out to Professor Kate Bingaman-Burt if you have questions about internships! She also teaches a one credit DES 408 workshop a few times a year, so be on the lookout for this as well. In the meantime, she tries to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions in regards to internships below. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk more!
WHAT is an internship?
An internship is a short period of experience with a particular company, agency, or studio. Most internships at the student level will last for one regular school term or will happen over the summer. Otherwise, they will specify the length of the internship in the posting or in your conversation with them. If you are interested in receiving school credit for your internship, this can be arranged as well! Usually working between 8-10 hours over a ten week period will equal a four credit internship. Also, be sure that you have a mentor/design supervisor at your internship. If you are just on your own, that’s a job and not an internship. The beauty of an internship is that you are guided and mentored! Also, PSUGD does not support unpaid internships. You should get paid for your work!
WHO should consider getting an internship?
First off, you shouldn’t be worrying about getting an internship until after the Sophomore Portfolio review! Getting past that hurdle really helps prepare you for more professional work and ensures that you have some experience doing a variety of types of work. Plus, you might be asked to share a portfolio or a few pieces of work with a potential employer. If you have passed the portfolio review and know of people or places whose work excites and inspires you, then you might consider reaching out to them and asking for an informational interview and investigate if they might have internship opportunities. That said, an internship is not right for everyone. If there are skills you are hoping to develop, it might be worthwhile reaching out to a professional working in that field to mentor with. They can help you learn more industry-specific skills or give you portfolio feedback that is more specific to the industry too. Afraid to reach out? Connect with faculty and see if we can connect you to alumni that are working in areas that you are also interested in working. That’s the beauty of school!
WHEN is the right time to be getting an internship?
I think it’s pretty natural to feel like you are falling behind or not doing the things you are supposed to be doing at pretty much all stages of being in school (and beyond) but I typically advise that students not worry about applying for internships until after the sophomore portfolio review. However, you should be paying attention to the type of design work that excites you and start researching people and places and keeping note of where alumni are working. It’s never too early to be an engaged designer with an interest in the design community.
Also, I want to bust a myth that an internship is something you can only get when you are in school. It’s not! Many paid full time internships are great to land when you graduate.
WHERE can you get an internship?
There are a lot of opportunities for connection that might lead to an internship. If you want to get a jump on the process, the best thing you can do is to be a SPONGE. Pay attention to the things that excite you. Investigate people and places that are making work that inspires you. If they are on social media, follow them and keep up with what they are doing. Watch design talks, attend workshops, check out panels and read books and gather with people to discuss all of the above.
Look at and listen to all of the things. You will start to learn about the areas of design you want to explore and experience through this type of engagement and your new knowledge will assist you in how you might reach out to people and places to request informal meet ups.
We have a TON of alumni working all over, so if you have a list of places that you are interested in learning more about, make an appointment with an advisor and we can help make connections with alumni. That’s one of the great things about going to school and the network is STRONG at PSUGD.
WHY should you consider getting an Internship?
Internships are a great way to gain industry experience in a particular field that is of interest to you. If you are itching to push your skills and learn more beyond your classes then an internship is a great way to do just that! And if you don’t have the time or aren’t personally ready to take that on, DO NOT WORRY!
This is one of the most frequently asked about topics that I get from students. They will ask “How do I get an internship? And if I don’t get one, should I just think of another profession entirely and then lay face down on the floor and cry?” Short answer: NO. Not everyone needs an internship and if you don’t get one, it’s not the beginning of the end. There are LOTS of ways to prepare for entering the design world after school and an internship (or a few) is just one of the steps. Ultimately, just trust yourself! Talk with other students, faculty, and professionals and do what feels right. You can do this!
Places and Spaces to Start Researching
Not all of the places below have internships, but it’s great to be able to identify spaces that you would aspire to work and learn more about whenever you are talking with an advisor about looking for jobs and internships. Dig in!
Bent Image Lab
Borders Perrin Norrander
Crib Design House
Dark Horse Comics
Dot Dot Dash
Enjoy the Weather
Floating World Comics
Half Court Studio
Lincoln Design Co.
Make and Mary
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Plus & Greater Than
Portland Center Stage
Red & Co.
Smith and Connors
The Beauty Shop
The Felt Hat
The Good Mod
True North Studios
Weiden + Kennedy
Work & Co
Know of a place that should be on this list? Email email@example.com.