During the summer of 2017, I managed to land an internship at National Geographic. This had literally been my dream job since my senior year of high school, when I got to attend the Schuneman Symposium, and saw Juan Velasco speak. I was elated, and got to work across the design, graphics, and cartography teams. I got to learn about all kinds of things, and learn from the best people in the industry. It was a truly incredible experience.
Luckily for me, it didn't end there. The spring semester before I started I applied, and joined the initial group of students who studied abroad in Washington D.C., and National Geographic kept me on. During the first 4 weeks of the semester, me and the other students in my cohort got to visit various news organizations, think tanks, and professionals in our various fields. It helped us to build our network, and also see impressive work, and driven people. During those weeks I got to create some great work, including the presidential pardon project, and this one on my classmates and myself.
I deeply enjoyed my time in Washington. One of the thing that I noticed during my time here is the difference in the kind of work that happens here. All of the designers I encountered here through office visits, and social interaction, seem to be driven by a desire to educate the public, tell stories, and solve problems visually. All the creative work that is done here is incredibly purposeful and intentional, a relatively refreshing change from some of the visual noise that populates the design world. The graphics made in Washington seem to be different, visual choices are made with purpose, and often because many of them are news based, and need to be pushed out in a timely fashion.
Being around these types of people was incredibly refreshing, and I really feel like I found my people during my time here.