Work Force

Seniors Kiera Donovan and Carter Smith detail their experiences with internships.

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Carter Smith works with a Techno CNA Router.

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Kiera Donovan

What began as a weekend hobby for senior Kiera Donovan turned into an after school affair, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when she landed an internship with Lifted Logic her junior year. Donovan was connected with Lifted Logic, a web design and development company in Kansas City, through Broadcast teacher Charlie Huette.
“I was taking Broadcast 1, my sophomore year, and [Huette] was like, ‘You seem to have a really strong interest in this, my friend owns this company, do you want to try for an internship?’,” Donovan said.
As an intern, Donovan worked with the cinematographers at the company to create videos and graphics for their clients’ websites. Although her job mainly consisted of the aforementioned tasks, she said she had the opportunity to work with many departments within the company.
“I interned with the videographers of the team,” Donovan said. “I also collaborated with the graphic designers. I worked with six coders because I did animations, creating graphics for websites. I edited interviews, made lower thirds, made transitions. It gradually went from basic editing [and] understanding how to put interviews together, to [having] a good idea of animations and video graphics [the company] can use.”
Donovan had a background coming into Broadcast and her interview for the internship, which is what she thinks gave her an advantage and, eventually, landed her the position. She said she began pursuing video editing as a personal hobby five years ago and she started out by making, what she described as, fan edits.
She said she had been nervous going into the internship because she had only ever worked by herself and at home. She was unsure how a professional setting in the field would be different and if it would be a good fit for her, but she said she had been worried for nothing when she stepped into the office.
“The environment was really welcoming,” Donovan said. “It was…extremely laid back, but it was encouraging. It was free flowing because when you work in a creative field, you kind of have to have that energy, you can’t be sterile, you can’t be stiff, you can’t be in cubicles. They would usually bring their dogs in and they would all roam around, it was really nice. I was like, okay this is an environment I can work in because I felt like I wasn’t too out of place, and that they were willing to help. I felt like I wasn’t the young, five year old at a cocktail party.”
Because the company was so relaxed, Donovan said they were understanding of her being a student and how she would choose to prioritize school. Although she still missed a part of the process for projects that were shot during the school day, she was given opportunities to make up for that missed time with projects she was able to develop after work hours.
“I specifically chose days that weren’t going to be too bad,” Donovan said. “It wasn’t like I was working till nine o’clock or eight o’clock at night so it didn’t really affect too much and even sometimes, if they were out on a shoot, and I was at school and I couldn’t go and I needed a new project they’d be like, ‘You don’t really have to come in, but you can work on it from home’.”
One memory that Donovan recalls fondly is creating product for the website of a well known business, The Big Biscuit.
“I did animations, creating graphics for websites they worked on, [like] The Big Biscuit website, and I made an animation of an egg cracking and spilling over for the website,” Donovan said.
Donovan said what she did at Lifted Logic is what she hopes to pursue as a career, with her focus being on combining multiple mediums from videography to graphic design to social media.
“I enjoy multimedia, that’s kind of what I would aim to go into, but it’s not necessarily like a major right now,” Donovan said. “In this time, it’s very fairly new, the idea of working with graphic design, integrated web media or social media or videography, but not necessarily videography in the term of film. It’s more of a media press, like BuzzFeed stuff, they create the content, the animations and all this creative work.”
Donovan said pending her junior year at Lifted Logic was valuable to her because of the experience it equipped her with. She said it taught her life skills that many learn only after graduating from college and going into the workforce, so being so aware so early will put her at an advantage.
“We always talk about you need to be professional, this is how you’re supposed to do it, but you don’t get to experience that until after college, which is really sucky because when you then enter the professional world, all you know is school, which is very linear and this one way you study, you get grades and then sometimes you don’t get it and you move on to the next unit,” Donovan said. “Getting this internship, it really taught me this is how each of these things connect to how I can do my job. It really benefited me because it taught me a lot about how to interact with people, how to work with people around you and how it’s going to work in a professional world.”

Carter Smith

Driving down the streets of the Plaza, senior Carter Smith lulled to a stop as one particular storefront caught his eye. He was intrigued enough to pull over and walk into the store, Doob, looking for a position. A Los Angeles-based company, according to their website, Doob’s main purpose is to print 3D replicas of people — and with one of the first fully integrated 3D pipelines, they are a leader in their industry and widely accessible to normal people. Walking in, Smith said he doubted that the company was looking to hire an 18 year old, but he wanted to see what he could do.
“I just nerded it out with the CEO for an hour, just about random stuff, showed him some abilities that I did have, showed him that I could be resourceful,” Smith said. “I automatically sent them a follow up email saying like, ‘Hey, thanks so much for your time, if you ever need anybody for community outreach stuff or maybe high school educational stuff, I can help,’ and they saw that as an additional value.”
After their first meeting, Smith reached out to the company asking for a position, but was denied because they weren’t looking to hire someone his age. That changed just a few months later, though, and he credits that to his ability to consistently stay in contact with the CEO, Nick Nikkhah, and prove himself as an asset to the company.
“Low and behold, three and a half months later I got an email for him. He was like, ‘Hey man, we’d love to give you an opportunity,’” Smith said. “Then it was just a long sit down interview with a bunch of questions which were super confusing but now make sense, and then I just kind of sold myself real well. That’s how you do it. Be the person they want you to be.”
Smith’s official position at Doob was a scanning tech. He said he had all the required skills for the job coming in, except for two. Learning how to use the scanner was something he caught on to quickly, but the art of being a salesman took a bit longer for him to master.
“I’m not a salesman, and they had to teach me how to be a salesman, and I will say now I do know how to [be a salesman],” Smith said. “I can effectively do a pitch real well, but…they had to breed me from being type A engineer boy to functional, interactive salesman.”
About four and a half months after he joined Doob, Smith, along with Nikkhah and the team he was working with separated from the company to establish a new startup. He said not much was different since leaving with the startup, 3DHQ, except for his new position as head of product development.
“It’s the same company, it’s the same team,” Smith said. “We effectively just separated. My boss, the owner, Nick Nikkhah, decided that we don’t like this, I’m not making any money, I see more future and with this partner, let’s just do that.”
One warning Smith received before he agreed to leave for the startup was how much more pressure he would be under, considering his change in position and where the company was as a new startup.
“There’s so much weight on you because the scale of your job is so much different, so…if I mess up, it’s gonna cost a lot of money,” Smith said. “The negative is just stress, it’s stress and responsibility, but yet again that comes to a good thing, like having responsibility is not necessarily a bad thing.”
He doesn’t see the pressure as a total con though. Despite the toll it might take on him, he can already see the added benefits of the added stress and how it will affect him in the future.
“I see it [as] it’s experience, and if I do this, and I do well, then I will have this on my resume,” Smith said. “I’m learning a lot of things from this that I wouldn’t learn for five or six years, so it’s super useful to get all this out now and be aware of what I’m going into. That’s I guess where I see the worth of it or the value of it.”
Smith said he’s learned a lot on the clock, but most of those lessons came to fruition as products of their environment, rather than being created with the intention of learning and growth.
“I’ve been forced to learn a lot of things, which is good,” Smith said. “That’s the personal growth, as well as salesmanship, learning how to communicate professionally with people. Those are very useful things to know going into college.”
Experience that benefited him on the basis of intrinsic motivation was valuable, he said, but the experience that he could list on his resume was more valuable to him. He said he came to the job hoping to work at the company for a minimum of one year because that work history with an engineering firm is what many companies want to see
“A company seeing that [work history] from an 18 year old going into college, not even in college, that’s huge,” Smith said. “It will open a lot of doors, which I necessarily wouldn’t have if I worked at Wendy’s.”
Aside from the time spent working, Smith also said he believes that the impression companies will have of him because of the experience he’s coming in with will reflect well on him and give him an edge over other candidates.
“Capability is one thing [my background] shows,” Smith said. “Companies don’t always expect the world from you, but it’s how well [you can] hold yourself up and how well [you] can problem solve and I guess that’s what my resume is going to show.”
Although Smith has no current plans to continue work with the company in the future, he plans to use the experience he gained working for them as an asset for college, especially because his position at 3DHQ is similar to what he wants to do after graduating from college.
“What I do at work is closer to industrial design,” Smith said. “I want to do mechanical engineering, I want to do a lot more complex mechanical stuff.”