If Caitlin Trudell 14 FAV were a gambler, she’d hit up a casino to capitalize on her ongoing streak of good luck. On September 25 the animator attended the Career Center’s Internship Connect event to explore the possibility of landing a coveted internship at Harmonix, the gaming company best known for house party hit Guitar Hero. That afternoon, the senior eagerly spoke with designers to learn about the company’s experimental technologies, which have radically shifted the landscape of interactive entertainment.
“I’m especially interested in motion capture technology, two-dimensional animation and character development,” Trudell says. “Harmonix designers are definitely leaders in those areas. I'd very much like to work for them after I graduate in May.”
The meeting was just one of many between students and potential employers at the Omni Providence Hotel downtown. Throughout the afternoon, representatives from 60 influential design studios, art galleries, popular apparel brands and major technology companies met with more than 400 ambitious undergraduate and graduate students. In a swirl of smiles and warm introductions, representatives from Nike, Ralph Lauren, Google, Levi Strauss & Co., Yellow Peril Gallery and other top businesses recruited RISD talent and shared their insights about the economic climate, market trends and potential job prospects. Some offered students internships on the spot.
“Students are making invaluable connections that will open up infinite possibilities,” noted Kevin Jankowski 88 IL, associate director of the Career Center. “Throughout the year, they’ll continue to build upon their portfolios using advice they receive today. Essentially, they’re getting a jump start on their careers.”
Stephanie Snow 16 IL also got some helpful face time with Harmonix techies. With a glint in her eye, the illustrator pulled out a crisp folder and unfurled an impressive collection of work: cubist figure drawings, renderings of horse skeletons and even a cartoonish family portrait. She also pulled out a compelling graphic novel from another sleeve. Called Artifact, it’s set in a stark, post-apocalyptic climate. Jason Arnone, the art manager at Harmonix, took off his boxy glasses to inspect the materials more closely.
“The Westboro Baptist Church would not approve of this – but it’s quite impressive,” he noted with a smile as he looked through the black and white illustrations. “I encourage you to push yourself even further – but I really like where you’re heading. Let’s definitely keep in touch.”
At a nearby table, Jules Goguely 15 ID visited with representatives from Reebok, revealing a portfolio chock full of beautifully crafted drawings of bike frames, athletic shoes and technical designs. Over the summer, the industrial designer – and captain of RISD’s cycling team – worked on an intensive three-week project at Princeton University developing mobile apps for electric motorbikes. He also interned at Mash, a bicycle design firm in San Francisco that sponsors competitive teams. “I’m interested in athletic trends and the design process behind shoes,” Goguely explains. “It’s probably because I put on this type of gear every morning before heading out to ride.”
Jamie Steingold, a human resources associate for Rag & Bone, was happy to find furniture designers to make custom pieces for the clothing store’s international showrooms. “RISD interns understand our brand, which is unique and far from cookie cutter,” she explained. “We see the beauty in craftsmanship and reuse materials – which RISD designers also tend to do.”
Seth Snyder 08 ID, a lead producer with the interactive design firm Tellart, was in a chipper mood after meeting with Ranhee Chung MID 14. The Industrial Design grad student showed him a comprehensive graph that visually explains the sensory response a user experiences when drinking a beverage at Starbucks.
“She captured the essence of this specific retail environment,” Snyder observed. “I imagine she sat down with a notebook and meticulously documented everything around her. This diagram would be useful when discussing the benefits of ambiance with corporate clients.”
Given the caliber of creativity they’re after, Snyder feels like Chung could potentially be a good fit for Tellart. “We’re really into data visualizations,” he says. “And I like her mode of thinking. Her out-of-the-box approach is very RISD.”
• Internship Connect
• RISD Career Center
tags: corporate, technology, entrepreneurship, global, internships, students