Coming into my internship with American Zinc Products, I did not know what to expect as it was my first experience working within the field of Graphic Design for a company. As a student of Gardener-Webb University, I am required to complete an internship in order to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.
I moved frantically trying to find the right fit for me before the summer was over. Originally, I had planned to intern with the Forest City Owls as a Graphic Designer, but due to the global pandemic, they were not able to have a season. I was on the move again to find the right program. Admittedly, I did not know where else to look for an internship, so on a whim, I reached out to the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. Shortly after, I learned of an opportunity at AZP, and following a phone interview with two employees of the company, Mia Chapman – Community Relations Coordinator and Sarah Nagorsen – Learning and Development Superintendent, I had landed the internship! I was extremely excited and was ready to begin the task at hand. Mia made sure that I was well informed before coming in by providing the brand standards, company website, and social media handles.
My first few days at AZP consisted of completing a regular onboarding process of an actual new-hire at the company. I felt welcomed by the staff as everyone was polite and helpful if I had any questions. I was provided with the proper equipment and software to design and received great information every step of the way with every project and assignment. Mia and Sarah showed me what it was like to work in a business professional environment by consistently hosting meetings to discuss my scope of work, provide key feedback, and also offer advice to further develop my career after college!
The very first project tasks I received were to create hiring posters for three different positions for the company. This was my favorite project to work on; the posters gave me a sense of the type of company AZP is and how they operate. I quickly learned that sticking to brand standards and seeking constant feedback was the best method for designing material for AZP.
A project I enjoyed but also struggled with was recreating a higher resolution logo for another subsidiary of American Zinc Recycling: Inmetco. Sometimes there are obstacles that Adobe programs produce while working on a project and I ran into many of them. However, when the final project was complete, I felt great about the logo and was glad that I was able to get out of my comfort zone and learn something new.
My final project gave me lots of room for creativity. I was to complete a social media campaign proposal for a new safety initiative called STOP and THINK. Learning how each social platform has a different purpose and audience was eye-opening and had me thinking about design from an “end-user” perspective. In addition to external communications, I also assisted in creating some internal promotional material to help increase awareness amongst employees.
As my internship comes to an end, I am excited to see where my career will take me and thankful for the time and knowledge that AZP invested into me. AZP worked well with my work and school schedule and were clear that work should not come before school. I was thankful for the flexibility so that I did not have to sacrifice any of my other priorities. I am glad to have met their team as they have been critical stakeholders in my path to graduation.
–Written by Kenbritt McGowan. AZP Graphic Design Intern 2020.