Graphic Design: An Alum Success Story

The best thing about this program was that it gave me variety.

Imagine graduating college and then finding a career where you have the opportunity to design something that will be used by thousands of people.

Sarah Lockwood, a 2009 graduate of Ferris State University’s Graphic Design Program, works today for a digital advertising company where she is designing mobile applications for Delta Airlines. Here is her story of how the graphic design program prepared her for her future in design.

How did the graphic design program prepare you for your career?

“The best thing about this program was that it gave me variety. When I was done with the program, I had a variety of careers to choose from. Also, being able to present projects that were actually going to be used for clients was really valuable. I was able to learn how to present professionally, which is especially helpful because it’s now a part of my job. It was hard trying to do that in school, but now I appreciate being able to do it.”

Did you have any mentors or internships that contributed to your success?

“A lot of the professors were great mentors and role models. My professors pushed me to go further and encouraged me to do my best. That’s what motivates me to do well on my work now. I had internships every year I was in school, not because I was forced to, but because I wanted to. I think that experience helped me learn not only about the job, but how to act as a professional. Being in that setting you learn a lot about how people interact with each other and how to write professionally. Even though these are things we learn in the classroom, being able to do them for an internship was helpful too.”

What advice do you have for those trying to gain experience?

“A lot of people assume that an internship will come, but it takes a lot of work. Use the Internet, look for people, and ask for people. One of my internships was with a guy who is a freelancer and I learned a lot from that. I think it’s a matter of putting yourself out there and doing it.”

What advice do you have for students who are in their senior year?

“It will get better! The last semester of graphic design was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. When looking for a job, you’re never going to be bothering someone if you’re persistent. People are busy but are happy to help. You can’t assume that someone is going to think you’re that important just to remember you. You have to stay in contact. And if you don’t like your first job, that’s normal. Just keep looking for something else and continue to update your resume.”