Things are going great for Drexel University student (and South Philly native) Chelsea Myers: not only did she land the internship of her dreams at Happy Cog, but also had her design featured as the logo for MTV’s Online Music Awards.
Although Happy Cog didn’t have a co-op program with Drexel, Myers decided to reach out to them anyway. She always admired their work and involvement in the web community, and knew it be the best place for her to get experience.
Christopher Cashdollar, Vice President of Design at Happy Cog, knew she’d be perfect for the Happy Cog team when she applied, too.
“Chelsea was already very familiar with the company, our culture, and what makes us different in the market,” says Cashdollar. “Being able to articulate ‘why’ you want to work somewhere has consistently been a huge clue for me to help determine if someone will be a good fit or not. Most of all, Chelsea has an obvious hunger to learn. In addition to her school work, she was putting herself out there already–working with her own freelance clients. You can’t teach that.”
Senior Interactive Designer Yesenia Perez-Cruz wasn’t surprised when Myer’s design was selected by MTV because she knew it would work well when she submitted it.
“Of the options that Chelsea presented, the one I ended up sending over to MTV stuck out to me immediately because it was compact and concise,” says Perez-Cruz. “I already knew that this design would work the best in the many applications it needed to work within, so I wasn’t surprised when MTV chose it. I was excited to share the news with her though.”
I asked Myers a few questions* to learn more about how she made the most of her internship and what it was like to have her logo on MTV:
What was your reaction when you received the internship?
I felt pure joy when I got an email from the Vice President of Design, Chris Cashdollar (a Drexel alumnus), offering me an internship. I was frozen for a while and I just read the email over and over again until my brain caught up and I began calling my whole family. It was extremely exciting and unbelievable.
What was your reaction when your logo was selected by MTV?
I was so shocked. This was the first thing like this that has ever happened to me. I never thought I would be doing work for MTV when I applied to Happy Cog, but there I was. I was ecstatic and extremely grateful I got the opportunity to do that kind of work.
How did your friends and family react about your logo being selected?
My friends were very happy for me and my family was immensely proud when I told them my logo concept was selected. My mom cried a bit, but that is what mothers do. Everyone wanted to know when the logo was going to be up, or how they could see it for themselves.
What are some of the best experiences you’ve had as an intern with Happy Cog?
My time here at Happy Cog has been my most educational experience. Some of the best times here are just talking to my coworkers and picking their brains. Everyone here is so incredibly talented and I have so much to learn from them. Just hearing everyone talk about their passions, whether it’s design, marketing or development is a great learning experience.
One of the projects where I learned the most was when I worked under Senior Designer Yesenia Perez-Cruz and Developer Allison Wagner. With them I helped design a theme for a restaurant’s website and then took that design and developed it. It was a wonderful to work on a project from design to code and get to work on it every step of the way.
What are some valuable things you’ve learned during your internship?
From working at Happy Cog, my technical skills have immensely improved. The most valuable thing I have learned though is how to collaborate. Back at Drexel, I worked on a lot of web projects alone. Coming to Happy Cog placed me right in the middle of a large and still growing team. I have learned how to work with others and I love it. Collaboration makes everything better.
What is your goal after you graduate from Drexel?
After I graduate Drexel, my goal is to get an awesome job as a front-end developer. I am not exactly sure where, but I know I want to work for a web design agency and not in-house for just one company. I love working somewhere that makes a lot of web sites for a lot of people. Each project is different, meaning there are new things to learn.
I plan on revamping my site, chelmyers.com, as well and starting to do more freelance work. I also plan on starting to go to a lot more web design conferences, and hopefully starting to teach web development on the side.
What advice would you give to other students who are in the process of going after their dream internships?
The best advice I can give to people going after their dream internship is to practice what you love in your free time. Companies want to see that you love what you do.
Freelancing is a wonderful way to do this. Get hired for small time gigs while in class. Whether you love painting, writing, or animating, if you do it in your free time too, people are going to be impressed.
What do you think about the design community in Philadelphia?
I think Philadelphia is one of the best places to be a designer. New York is way too much for me (and expensive). It is so easy to find a design group in this city. There are even tons of design agencies that people do not know about. I use Meetup.com a lot to find design gatherings. Designers in Philadelphia are super friendly and very welcoming. But what else would you expect from the city of brotherly love?
Speaking of finding people to ask questions and discuss design with, Chelsea would love it if you’d reach out to her. You can follow her at @chels_myers on Twitter or sending her a message via her website, chelmyers.com. “I love talking and helping people,” she says. “Don’t be shy!”
*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.