During the 2012 winter break and 2013 spring semester I had the opportunity to intern at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The National Aquarium is a non-profit organization and home to over 16,000 animals, all of various species, living in habitats specific to their nature; the National Aquarium includes educational tours, experiences, and exhibits, all fueled by their mission statement, “to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.” I was fortunate to find the Graphic Design internship listing for the National Aquarium through the Google search, ‘Graphic Design Internships in Baltimore.’ After two weeks I received a phone call from Maryn Jacobs, one of the Graphic Designers for the National Aquarium, asking if I was still interested in the position, and if so, she would like to offer me the job. When I accepted, she informed me that she would call in a few weeks to follow up on details.
The Graphic Design Department in the National Aquarium, comprising of Maryn Jacobs and Natalie Castaldo, handles everything from exhibit design, to events fliers, from social-media designs to the Aquarium’s branding, and everything in between. The two designers work with over 80 open jobs a day, creating and completing all design jobs for each department within the National Aquarium. I was given several projects to work on throughout my internship, all of which needed to keep the feel and branding of the National Aquarium: e-cards, event brochures, internship posters, educational illustrations, social media front banners, educational illustrations, and club patches. I also attended several meetings that discussed project details with the various departments requesting the job.
Interning at the National Aquarium taught me the value of time because quick turn around jobs forced me to think quickly and execute the project in a quick and clean manner. The most valuable lesson I learned was how to manage several different jobs at once in addition to handling communication with different departments, satisfying their needs while staying in the constraints of the National Aquarium’s existing branding. I also learned how to work within an office setting as I worked from 9-5 in my own cubicle, sometimes needing to stay later to get a job finished. This time allotment taught me how not stray my attention and focus my energy on the task at hand. Interning for the National Aquarium has shown me that I would like to pursue a career in the Graphic Design field, specifically in large spread communication for Non-Profit organizations; I enjoyed using my design skills to better the community, and plan to continue designing for educational purposes throughout my career.