Required internships give PCA&D graduates an edge in the workplace

The internship experience at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design is an important link between a student’s curricular preparations in the visual arts and the myriad ways that training can be applied in real-world employment.

PCA&D requires students in all BFA degree majors — fine arts, graphic design, illustration and photography — to successfully complete a professional-level internship or mentorship before graduating.

Every summer, our students work on internships at sports magazines and design firms, with independent photographers, and at art centers in the region.

Don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what our students and participating employers had to say about it…

In the words of students from past internships and mentorships:

“My mentor has been Jack Corpening and the character I have been modeling is named Romy the Witch by Courtney Brenek. Being in this mentorship has been refreshing and a change from how school has been run. One-on-one with a professional is both terrifying and reassuring of how much I want to work in the world of 3D modeling and it has been a wonderful experience so far. Jack Corpening has been patient and direct with his teaching and that alone makes this worthwhile in my opinion. The character I get to model is super fun as well.” – Bailey Tice,  Digital Media ’18; Mentor: Jack Corpening

“My mentor is Paige Lauren Carter and with her I’ve been working on bringing a 2D concept into a 3D space. The first few weeks were doing concept work based on prompts she gave me and then settling on one to further work on and finalize in 3D. The sword was blocked out in Maya and then brought into ZBrush. It’s currently still in progress, but overall I’ve learned and practiced a lot with Paige. She’s definitely helped me tackle on the assignment with a different point of view as well as instructing me on how to dive into a program I had never touched before.” – Amanda Rivera-Segundo, ’18; Mentor: Paige Lauren Carter

“My internship at My Own Color Lab, a commercial photography lab in New York City, has enhanced my skills as a photographer. I have met a number of prominent artists, and have seen many of their works produced. I also gained hands-on experience working with professional equipment. Watching Gerard Franciosa, the owner of My Own Color Lab, work with his clients, and assisting him in a number of ways, was both fun and inspiring. My internship has reinforced many of the skills that I’ve gained at PCA&D, and I have learned many new ones as well!” – Jose Manuel Collantes, Photography, ’19; Interned at My Own Color Lab

“I landed an internship with digital marketing agency, Lupeer. Lupeer is an agency that empowers brands, and increases a brands online presence. There I created work for various company’s across the United States. At Lupeer I created multiple web banner ads to help reach potential clients by redirecting them to the advertised website. I also created different elements for companies websites, and created print material for in house projects. Working with Lupeer provided me with the experience of working in the professional world, and gave me a glimpse of yet another possibility with graphic design.” – Jared Shuey, Graphic Design ’18; Interned at Lupeer

“The most valuable part for me would be the preplanning, from start to finish that is necessary for any mural. Also the opportunity to work with the neighborhoods and people in the communities where the murals were placed.” – Thomas White, Fine Art ’18;  Interned with muralist Eric Okdeh

“I would recommend this internship because it was a wonderful experience. The most valuable aspect was the impeccable craft he taught me.” – Samantha Ferrizzi, Fine Art ’18; Interned with Peter’s Upholstery

“As a practicing and successful artist, she was informative as to the legal aspects of a business in the arts. Everything was valuable.” – Leah Limpert Walt, Fine Art ’18; Interned with artist Brenda Wintermyer

“Interning at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology was very enriching. It involved two major responsibilities. The first, was to teach illustration to high school students. The second, was to illustrate a board game that was designed by one of the talented students at HU. While teaching I got to learn about game design and I was able to learn how to use the game engine Unity. I was also able to make some great connections. Interning at H.U. taught me a lot and it helped me open my mind as an illustrator. The second part of my internship involved many illustrations to work out while under the guidance of an Art Director. However, it was just what I needed to really push myself and build the discipline and drive required to work as a freelancing illustrator.” – Tabitha Park, Illustration ’18. 

In the words of employers/mentors from past internships:

“It was a pleasure to work with Tim [Tim Behler ’10, Graphic Design] — his comfortable nature and excitement about the work made it easy to integrate him into our design team. Tim offered appropriate and useful suggestions in all meetings and helped to craft new directions at Armstrong. His knowledge of cutting-edge technology allowed him to demonstrate Adobe Kuler to the design team who incorporated its use immediately. Thank you for sending Tim our way.”

— Julia Pierce, senior manager commercial product design, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Lancaster, PA

Acquiring an Internship

Students are expected to seek out and propose internship opportunities but guidance and direct referral are also provided by department chairs, internship coordinators and faculty in the major departments.

All internships must ultimately be approved by the department chair or internship coordinator and are expected to occur in the summer between the third and fourth years in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. In some cases, the internship process can continue into the fourth year as long as there is no time conflict with required course work.

All internships at PCA&D involve commitment and assessment from both the internship site supervisor and the intern. Required assessment paperwork includes:

  • Written description from the site (on letterhead stationery) that outlines the student’s responsibilities during the internship period and states who will supervise the intern. According to department standards for the level of professionalism to be achieved during the internship experience, the department chair or internship coordinator may approve or deny an internship at this stage.
  • Written evaluation of a student by the internship site supervisor at the conclusion of an internship experience.
  • Written evaluation of the internship site by the student at the conclusion of the internship experience.

For more information, contact Jessica Edonick, Dean of Student Services.

Internship Evaluation Forms

PCA&D students who have completed their internship may download an evaluation form from this list:

Employers/mentors who have completed their program with a PCA&D intern may download an evaluation form from this list: