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Student Spotlight: Lauren Martin

Lauren Martin, a fourth-year BFA Graphic Design student, recently completed her internship with the Anniston Museum and Gardens, where she had the opportunity to assist the AM&G graphic design team. 

Tell us about this internship. What did you gain from it? What was your favorite part?

I was tasked with creating new campus maps for the Anniston Natural History Museum and the Berman Museum; as the old maps were outdated and some of the exhibits had been changed, I created rental guides. From my experience with AM&G, I better understood what Graphic Design really is. Yes, I was tasked with the maps and rental guide, but they were always asking if there was anything specific I wanted to learn and were always open to answering questions, not only about projects but getting a future job, helping me build a resume, etc. I also feel like I got a feel for what graphic design is like in a real-world aspect. Being in a work setting rather than a classroom. I think my favorite part of this internship was the relationships I made with the staff. I was intimidated when I first started because I had never done an internship before. All I knew was what you see in the movies, where they treat you like you’re unimportant, but that was not the case. They were the most welcoming staff and really made me feel comfortable and like I was a part of the team. Even though my internship is over, I feel like the people there are great mentors I can count on if I ever have design-related questions later in my life. 

When did you know that JSU was the right school for you?

I actually started out my college career as a nursing major. I started at Gadsden State Community College. While at Gadsden State, I completed a 2-year degree in 1 year. Covid-19 hit in my last semester at Gadsden State, and while I wanted to transfer somewhere, I felt really burned out. For years, many people told me I should be a graphic designer or work in something creative. I looked into the Graphic Design program at JSU. I knew some people who had gone through the program, and I asked them about their experience, and I did not hear anything bad about the school. It was a tough decision to change my major, but I am so glad I did because I have never been happier doing what I love. And being at JSU I have met some of my favorite people and had some of the best professors. 

What are some benefits of your major?

One benefit of my major is the ability to be creative. I did not want to graduate and get a job sitting in an office doing paperwork all day. While I might still be sitting in an office, I get to create things. Every job is something different and creates something new. 

What is your favorite thing about JSU?

My favorite thing about JSU is the community. There are always events going on and ways to meet new people. As I said earlier, I have made some of my closest friends here at JSU. 

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?

I am sad to say I have not participated in any clubs or organizations since I have been here 😦 (I need to get on that)

What is one way that you have grown during your time at JSU?

Since I have been at JSU I have grown more confident in the art I make. When I first started here I did not feel like my work would be good enough to get me jobs, but that is why we go to school, to learn and grow in what we do. I can see so much progress in just the last 2 years.

What is your favorite course that you have taken?

My absolute favorite course has been Screen-printing. Because of this class it made me change my whole career choice. Getting into graphic design I wanted to work in social media or advertising, but now I would like to work under a screen printer and later open my own print shop.

Any recent accomplishments?

I am not sure if this would be considered an accomplishment, but for my final in Screen-printing in December we printed on fabric. I chose to design and print a sweatshirt. I was very proud of how it turned out and posted it to social media to show my work. I ended up receiving a lot of feedback asking if I would be interested in selling them. Over Christmas Break I actually printed and sold 10 sweatshirts. It was not my intention to sell anything when I posted them, but the feedback I received made me really happy that people wanted to buy the work that I was making.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I would love to work at a screen-printing shop and potentially open my own someday. I would also like to do some freelance work on the side.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

A fun fact about myself is I have been in 6 movies/tv shows.

What advice do you have for first-year students?

My advice would be to major in something you love. Don’t be afraid to change your major. I personally had a lot of anxiety about changing mine, thinking I would be behind or people would judge me, but honestly it is so worth it to find something you truly love doing. You will be much happier because of it. It is hard to decide at 18 years old what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you aren’t locked down to only that. Don’t stress the small stuff.

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