The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…
Patrice Resch attended California University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Graphics and Multimedia Technology / Graphic Communication Technology.
How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?
- I’ve always excelled at projects as compared to test taking. In high school I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to select as many creative electives as possible. I signed up for classes such as photography, layout and design, screen printing and print making, all of which I enjoyed greatly and thrived at. From there I was able to search online for schools offering different creative majors that were a bit more hands-on than graphic design (I’ve never excelled at the fine arts).
How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?
- The GCM major at CALU was filled with wonderful, personable, relatable and experienced professors. They were always there if you had a question after class or during open lab times. They were willing to travel to conferences with students, which I think was the highlight of my time at CALU. Attending trade shows, such as the SGIA conference, gave us real world insight into the emerging technologies and companies who would be looking to hire young professionals such as ourselves. Members of my team attend this trade show every year and they were impressed that at such a young age I was able to participate in such events.
In the Workforce Today
What company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?
- As of mid-July (2016) I started working for Ann Inc. which is the parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT Outlet and Lou & Grey. These are all women’s retail brands/companies. The office is located in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square. I am on the marketing production team where my primary focus is on Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet. I help to produce (source/test materials, estimate projects, vet vendors, color correct, review proofs etc.) any 2D print collateral that one would see in a retail store. This may include, but is not limited to the storefront window displays (what you see when you are outside of the store) and the in-store signage (graphics in frames, sign holders, stretch frames, etc. throughout the store). I work with our vendors on the timing and logistics as well. Internally I work with our marketing and visual teams to bring each and every project to life.
What job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?
- This is my first position with Ann Inc. Before joining this team, I worked at a very small boutique agency/print broker that was also located in Manhattan. There I worked on a variety of different brands (more of an agency feel) compared to the single/’in house” company I work for now.
What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?
- I think that employers are looking for motivated and educated individuals. However, speaking from experience; the job search process in NYC is long, challenging and frustrating at times. I believe employers are looking for individuals that do not blend in, and have a specialized skill set to share. Coming from a background in print production, I felt that I was one of a select few technically qualified individuals to be able to fill my current role.
- I don’t think so. I knew I would be challenged, but I enjoy learning and improving processes, so it’s a continuous process of growth and development. Of course, every company you work for will be different, even if the role and responsibilities have some overlap.
Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?
- When I decided on graphic communication as a major I did not know what type of company I would end up working for post-graduation. I wasn’t even sure of the possible positions available to me. There were thoughts of working directly on-site at a print shop, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be down and dirty every day. However, I do like the hands-on aspects of print, as well as the creative process. Being able to visit vendors during live projects is defiantly a perk of the field that I am in now. Over the years since graduation I’ve worked with a variety of high-end retail and real estate clients on creative print production projects and now I am working for an established women’s retail company. My career path so far has been good to me and I’m excited to see what happens in the years to come.
What do you see yourself doing a few years from now?
- In a few years from now I’d love to be at a different retail/luxury brand company. Working on the concept and production of their storefront window displays, incorporating more 3D elements and environmental/experiential graphic collateral. Ever since I interned years ago, I’ve loved the feeling of delivering a finished product to a client and seeing their reactions. It’s so fulfilling when it’s done correctly, and even at times when things may not go as smooth as anticipated, there is a lesson to be learned.
Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?
- I was honored to receive the PGSF scholarship. It was great to touch base with the staff over the years and share the progress I’ve made. It’s also great to have that network post-graduation, as well as having this as a talking point at interviews, etc.
Anything else that you would like to add?
- I’d like to reiterate the fact that as a young adult entering college, to have someone to be there for them. A Foundation that believes in your hopes and dreams at a naive 18, and is able to support you financially, is very meaningful. I was honored to receive this scholarship and am proud to list it on my resume and LinkedIn.
PGSF works to inform young people about the opportunities that are available in the graphic arts industry and then support them during their educational phase. To learn more about PGSF, or how you can support its work, visit www.pgsf.org or contact John Berthelsen at firstname.lastname@example.org. PGSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.