Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center graphic design graduate Cydney Schwartz at her new home, the world-renowed CDC in Atlanta.
The “My Journey” series takes a look at some of the opportunities and thoughts of our recent graduates and alumni on their new—and often different—career paths. I caught up with recent graphic design graduate Cydney Schwartz, who choose a less than conventional path to begin her journey as a professional designer in-house at the CDC in Atlanta (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Hank Richardson: Cydney, tell me about your job at the CDC as a graphic designer having just graduated from one of the country’s foremost graphic design programs.
Cydney Schwartz: Being a professional graphic designer at the CDC, I get the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects. I do logo designs, illustration, infographics, poster design, publication design, among others. An extremely important set of criteria that guides all of my work here is U.S. 508, which is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed be accessible to people with disabilities. Working at the CDC has given me the opportunity to learn how use my graphic design for everyone.
HR: You have an great opportunity as a graduate coming out of school to design and create important communications which serve humanity around the world. Share with us how you got your amazing job at CDC.
CS: The week before graduation, my friends in my graduating class and I were working all day and night, and uploading our projects on Behance. The day before graduation I was sleep-deprived and putting the final touches on everything when I saw a message in my inbox. It was from a recruiter at the CDC who liked my work and wanted me in for an interview. I was shocked. I didn’t think it was real. I had not even graduated yet. A few days after my graduation I interviewed for the job at the CDC. The interview went well, and it was very exciting to go through the process before going to our Portfolio Review in New York. A few days later, while in New York with my graduating class at the review and touring agencies, I got a call. The CDC offered me the job as a graphic designer. All the blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights from the graphic design program at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center were worth it. I am now a working professional in graphic design with my own creative career.
HR: So tell us, what is a day like for a designer at the CDC? What sort of work do you create, how many projects are on—help us imagine how exciting your typical day is.
CS: Being part of such a large organization is a huge honor. I am excited to walk in every morning knowing I am designing things that help bring awareness to people’s lives every day. I’m working on up to 20 different projects on any given day. This all means I have about 20 different clients I have to communicate with on a daily basis. It is exciting to be engaged in challenging design projects, to have the full trust of my client, and to have a job where what I do saves lives and helps protect people from the many health, safety and security threats on our planet.
HR: When you first started in graphic design school here, did you ever see yourself where you are now?
CS: Before I became a student at Portfolio Center, I was working as an intern at a photography archive in Tel Aviv, Israel. While I was there I also did my own photography exhibition on Israeli soldiers. When I returned to the United States, I started working as a photography assistant. It was then I learned about Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center through some of the people I worked with. They thought it would be a great school for me to go to and explained how it would be the perfect place to help understand design, art direction, and other creative fields as well.
HR: Cydney, reflect on your favorite thing about having an engaging graphic design career.
CS: My favorite thing about being a graphic designer is pretty simple, I love what I do. I feel so lucky that I get to do what I love every single day. I work in a place where my clients trust me enough to give me complete creative freedom in what I do for them. Even though I am just out of graphic design school, I still feel like I am being pushed as a creative designer every single day at the CDC.
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