Graphic Design Senior Completes Internship with The Kresge Foundation

Sydney Tomlinson, a Michigan State University senior and Honors College student with a double major in Graphic Design and Creative Advertising, worked as a Digital Communications Intern on the External Affairs and Communications team for The Kresge Foundation. As part of her summer internship, she produced digital content that was featured across the foundation’s online platforms. 

“I was instantly drawn to the foundation largely due to the importance that the team places on equity-focused design,” Tomlinson said. “I quickly became interested in how to make design accessible to everyone.”

Seven people in masks pose for a group photo in an office.
Sydney Tomlinson (bottom center) with The Kresge Foundation team.

As a Digital Communications Intern, Tomlinson was tasked with the ideation and creation of a series of intern profiles that were featured on The Kresge Foundation’s website, newsletter, and social media. 

“I interviewed the other interns to create their personalized profiles,” she said, “and was given complete creative freedom as far as their look and feel.” 

Tomlinson took firsthand inspiration from her childhood of playing and watching sports by adding her own unique flair to the design. 

A photo of a girl with a description about her is featured in the style of a vintage baseball card.
An example of an intern profile card that Sydney Tomlinson designed for The Kresge Foundation.

“I decided to frame the profiles around the style of vintage baseball cards and created infographics for each intern as a more visual way for the Kresge staff to learn about the new interns,” she said. “This became the project I spent most of my time on throughout the course of the internship.”

Out of all the tasks she was assigned, Tomlinson says her creative production of the intern profile series was “the most noteworthy project” and that she was “fortunate enough to work on.”

“My internship experience furthered my academic studies at MSU by allowing me to take my prior knowledge and apply it in a real workplace environment.”

“My internship experience furthered my academic studies at MSU by allowing me to take my prior knowledge and apply it in a real workplace environment,” Tomlinson said. “One thing I was able to experience during my internship that I haven’t experienced yet is communicating with a local printer to get quotes and proofs. I learned about the language and necessary information needed to communicate with the printer in order to receive a correctly printed product.”

Tomlinson’s biggest takeaway from the internship was experiencing firsthand how essential it is for her to continuously challenge her own design capabilities.

A student giving a thumbs up stands in front of a computer in an office.
Sydney Tomlinson working at The Kresge Foundation office.

“My supervisor purposely pushed me out of my comfort zone by asking me to dive into programs that I had a base level of experience in,” she said. “This allowed me to discover new possibilities within the Adobe Creative Suite and a new potential within myself.”

Founded in 1924, The Kresge Foundation collaborates with partners to provide grants, loans, and other investment tools to low-income Americans to further their economic opportunity in the art, education, environment, health, and human service fields.

“My experience with The Kresge Foundation has influenced my future career trajectory by showing me what it means to use graphic design and communications for a bigger purpose,” Tomlinson said. “I look forward to more opportunities like this one to continue to do just that.”

Written by Kseniya Lukiy