Student Spotlight: Jared Sawdey

Published on Mar 28, 2017

Senior Graphic Design major Jared Sawdey recently used his design experience to land an internship at Cards Against Humanity. 

How did you get the internship? Was there anyone at Columbia, faculty and/or staff, who directly helped you get it?
Well, they say that 75% of jobs are found through referrals, and so far I've definitely found that to be true. Last Spring, my boss at Cards Against Humanity, Amy Schwartz, was my mentor for the AIGA Mentorship Program, and we got to know each other pretty well. Fast forward five months and she interviewed me for the position. My teachers and advisors at Columbia encouraged me to apply to the Mentorship Program and I'm so glad I did.

Was there any preparation you did, in or out of the classroom, that aided you in the internship?
I applied for the internship at the end of summer, so I fortunately had more time on my hands to polish up a cover letter and spend some time to redo my website. As a student, our work is evolving and improving with every project, so you have to make time to add new projects to your portfolio. Before the interview, I definitely did my research on the company and went to a panel discussion that the Cards Against Humanity design team gave at the Chicago Design Museum.

Photo Credit: Gretta Goldstein
Photo Credit: Gretta Goldstein

How is the internship with Cards Against Humanity? What do you do? Are there any moments that you've been a part of that stick out in particular? Are you enjoying it or learning things?
It has been so amazing. I intern for the in-house design team at Cards, meaning we execute any design-related task that our company or related brands need. So far, I've worked on web design, packaging, branding and retail displays. Last semester, I helped art direct our big yearly Black Friday prank, which was called the Holiday Hole—we literally had people donate money for us to dig a huge hole in the ground. It was so exciting to work on a project that reached thousands of people. This semester, I completed a brand manual for CAH's second company Blackbox, which has been a great addition to my portfolio and great experience to bring to any other design position I'll have.

I've learned so much about working for an in-house design team, and how collaborating with other designers is such a fruitful experience. On top of that, I've gained a lot of valuable experience in web design and UI, or user interaction, which are some things I never got around to exploring during my time at Columbia.

Blackbox

What do you hope or plan to do after this experience?
I plan on staying in Chicago, and currently I'm looking for a full-time job at a studio or for an in-house design team. Through this internship, I've learned that I love to work collaboratively, and that focusing on branding and print are my strong suits.

Would you advise other students to participate in internships? What advice would you have for those who are interested in getting an internship?
I strongly encourage any student to have an internship during college! It's by far the best way to gain real experience in your field while still being in school. My advice is to simply get out there. You may be making great work and have a wonderful personality, but no one will know that until you attend Chicago design events, or ask your favorite designers for informational interviews, or apply for a real interview. An internship is essentially a stepping stone to launch you into your profession, so utilize the resources around you and ask people for help to get you where you want to be going. People are often willing to help students, but they won't know until you ask.

View Jared's professional portfolio. 

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