Students for a Better World: The Beyond the Classroom Blog

Stories, Resources, & More from the Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Program at University of Maryland

Design for Change

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by Juantrice Alvarado, Beyond the Classroom Student

I am a senior Studio Art and Communications double major at UMD. This fall semester, I interned with a design agency based in D.C., KTD Creative. Before I started, I was anxious about pursuing a career in design. I had been interested in graphic design since high school, where I studied interactive media production and learned Adobe Creative Suite programs. However, I didn’t think becoming a graphic designer would earn stable income and I didn’t think I was good enough compared to all the other graphic designers in the world. I thought BTC’s internship course, UNIV326: Internship and Experiential Learning Seminar, would be the perfect opportunity to try and rule out my fears.

KTD Creative’s mission is to “create branding, interactive and print communications for arts organizations, corporations, associations, museums, small businesses, federal government agencies, universities, non-profits and more.” The types of services provided


Juantrice Alvarado at her internship with KTD Creative.

by KTD Creative are “responsive mobile and web design, web development, information architecture, fundraising, eNewsletters, event branding, search engine marketing, social media marketing, print design and more.” KTD Creative works with many nonprofit organizations, who support important issues in order to match the organization’s missions with their advertised visuals. The most recent client is the Wind Energy Foundation. I felt very proud to work on the organization’s graphics with my supervisor, Kate, because clean energy is a global issue I am passionate about. I hope to continue using my design skills for civic engagement purposes. I think design is crucial to civic engagement and social change, because an organization with outdated or unrelated visuals won’t get as much support as the organizations that do.

During my internship, I was responsible for maintaining and/or creating client logo designs, print layouts, social media campaigns, and website designs. I worked directly with Kate Tallent, the Principal, Creative Director and Designer. I used my knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite programs (InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator) in order to accomplish daily tasks assigned by my supervisor. Every day was a new goal or a completely new problem to solve. The lack of monotony during this internship is one of the key reasons I decided to pursue a career in the design industry. After building trust with my supervisor she gave me more responsibility and creative freedom. I was able to successfully design business cards for clients. I also created and managed social media content from home. As a senior, it was difficult to manage at home responsibilities with schoolwork, but this discipline helped me to learn time management.

My accomplishments at KTD Creative include building my skills in communication, leadership, social media, content management systems (Drupal and WordPress) and Adobe Creative Suite programs. Overall this internship experience boosted my confidence and my skills in design. It also helped me to realize that a higher income would come with years of experience. Honestly, I’d prefer choosing a job that I love over one that I hate just because of money.


Author: btcblogger

Beyond the Classroom (BTC) engages talented and diverse upper level undergraduates from across the university in a selective interdisciplinary living and learning community focused on civic engagement and social change in a global context. The BTC program prepares students to be active and responsible citizens and leaders in a complex, multi-cultural, and global society. We encourage students from all disciplines and majors to realize and develop their potential through an integrated program of academic, experiential, and service components. The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the world’s largest nonprofit and nongovernmental sector, becomes a place of learning through exciting internships and civic learning experiences.

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