Dunwoody Design & Graphics Technology students work in industry before graduation

At Dunwoody, Design & Graphics Technology students don’t just gain real-world experience in the state-of-the-art digital press and packaging design lab on campus. They also gain real-world experience in, well, the real world.

This year nearly all second-year Design & Graphics Technology students are working in the field through internships while finishing their last semester of the program. All but one of these internships are paid.

Second-year Design & Graphics Technology student talks to prospective employers at the annual Design & Graphics Intern Expo. Internship resources for students

Students find internships through many resources offered on campus, including the annual Design & Graphics Technology Intern Expo and professional connections made through faculty networks.

The Intern Expo happens on the third Thursday of February every year. “Many of our employers know this and put it on their calendar months in advance,” Pre-Media Technologies Principal Instructor Pete Rivard said.

During the Expo, students set up their own booths and present their portfolios to prospective employers.

“This event is the culmination of all the work they have done since starting in the program. I am always impressed with the quality of the final portfolios,” said Senior Graphic Design Instructor Gerald Timmreck. “My favorite part is watching them explain their work and interact with the industry professionals.”

In addition to the Expo, students obtain internship opportunities through professional connections made by faculty.

“Most – if not all – of the internships this year were the direct result of personal faculty connections to employers. We try and stay connected throughout the year – for past grads and current students as well,” Graphic Design Principal Instructor Tom Herold said. “Many of our first-year students are already working in the field – at least one student was working before starting the first week of class.”

Instructors maintain these relationships with employers by participating in industry organizations like Printing Industry Midwest (PIM) and by keeping a pulse on industry needs.

Second-year Design & Graphics Technology students pose for a photo in the College's photo studio. Students working and interning in the field

Students are working and interning in places like Graphic Measures International (GMI), which certifies, monitors and measures the performance of packaging suppliers worldwide.

“Right now – by my count – we have seven program graduates and four current students placed at GMI,” Rivard said. ” At least four of our grads working at GMI now have significant global travel and international business experience in places like China, India, Costa Rica and Ireland.”

Darren Davis, a second-year graphic design student, is working as a graphic designer and marketing assistant at C3 LLC, the creators of the caster-lift shopping cart safety ropes used to gather and transport shopping carts from the parking lot to the store – standard equipment used among the world’s leading grocers and retailers.

“I’m already applying what I’ve learned at Dunwoody in different ways. While C3 has a very specific brand I must adhere to, I’m also given a lot of freedom to develop new ideas for ways to spread awareness of their product,” Davis said.

Graphic Design Instructor Tom Herold works with a student during class. Minnesota is the Promised Land for design and graphics; Dunwoody trains to employers’ needs

“People from all over the world send their design and packaging work to Minnesota,” Rivard said, explaining that Minnesota has a $9 billion design and graphics industry.

Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology faculty members work closely with the industry to train students to employers’ needs. Through this approach, faculty members have developed a hands-on curriculum unique to Dunwoody.

At the beginning of their studies, students’ are issued a Macbook complete with roughly $40,000 worth of packaging and design software – including Adobe Suite, Esko, and CAD programs. In addition to being trained in industry-standard software, students gain hands-on experience in the College’s state-of-the-art printing and packaging lab – complete with a Xerox iGen4 Diamond Edition digital press and an Esko Kongsberg V20 cutting table. The combination of design and packaging projects gives students a well-rounded education on both the print and package design processes.

“Dunwoody is the only college in Minnesota that teaches both packaging and design side by side,” Rivard explained. “That’s why employers go nuts over our students.”

Interested in learning more or applying to the program? Get more information on Design & Graphics Technology offerings.