This semester, Cyber had two full time interns from Clemson University and one full time co op from University of Tennessee - Knoxville work with us in our Creative Services Department, Prepress Department, and Plates and Media Department. We wanted you to hear about their experiences here before their time at Cyber ends.
In 2004, Cyber Graphics established an Internship Program with Clemson University that brings students in to work full-time on a semesterly basis. Following the success of this, we created an Engineering Professional Practice Program with the University of Tennessee - Knoxville to bring students in on a three semesters co op basis. This fall, Kylie, Rashaud, and Zach came to join us in Memphis for fifteen weeks, and we were able to sit down and talk about their experiences with them before they return to school.
Kylie [K]: Knoxville, TN
Zach [Z]: North Augusta, SC
Rashaud [R]: Florence, SC
Positions and majors:
K: Manufacturing Co Op studying Industrial Engineering with a minor in Business Administration at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.
Z: Prepress Intern studying Graphic Communications with a minor in Business Administration at Clemson University.
R: Creative Services Intern studying Graphic Communications with a minor in Modern Language - German at Clemson University.
K: This past summer, I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. I also took a road trip from Knoxville, TN, to Los Angeles.
Z: I enjoy outdoor sports, like hunting and fishing. I'm also a diehard Clemson fan- go Tigers!
R: I drove fourteen hours here! Straight, no breaks.
K: No breaks? You didn't even get gas?!
R: No ma'am.
Describe your positions at Cyber.
K: I work in the plateroom here at Cyber. My job is to work on various projects involving industrial engineering related issues and manufacturing. I focus on optimizing processes around the workplace to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, etc. I worked a lot in SketchUp to create 3D renderings of floor plan layouts and designing racks and other parts we needed that were eventually created.
Z: I work primarily in the Prepress department: file prep, first art, modifications, preflights, etc. I also work on special projects outside of the department. Currently, we’re working on a really large press run that I can’t go into detail about, but I’m also assisting with the CSR training program that will help improve communication between the departments. I work heavily in Illustrator (and learned a lot more about it than I ever thought I would), Prinergy, and other Adobe Suite software.
R: My overall purpose is to assist with prototype development. This includes everything from initial communication with the customers to creating the actual prototypes both on and off the computers. I also assisted with various photoshoots and design projects throughout the semester. On a day to day basis, I worked with IC3D, ESKO software, and the Adobe Suite.
What are your favorite parts of your jobs?
K: I like that I’m constantly working on different projects and that every day is different. I also get to work with a large variety of people within the company. Finally, I have been working very closely with our plant in Neenah, which is fun because I get to travel there and work with people outside of this Cyber branch.
Z: I would have to say the company culture. It’s a very unique place- I’ve made a lot of friends while I work, which is different than my previous experiences with internships, and I really appreciate that. A lot of people have taken me under their wing, and I’ve used that to expand my knowledge.
K: Ditto that. Can I add that to my answer?
R: My best experience here has definitely been getting good reviews back from customers. It is always enjoyable to hear that they like my work. It makes me feel like I made a big difference!
Why should others intern or co op here?
K: Personally, I co oped here, which means I was here for three semester. It’s been a massive benefit to my education- not only did I gain experience and improve myself as an IE, but I also learned a lot about life outside of college and what it’s like to actually have a job that you work forty hours a week. My experience here has really prepared me for life after graduation and really helped point me in the direction of where I want to go and what I want to do. I think anyone should definitely do an internship or a co op. Specifically at Cyber, 'cause it’s great!
Z: I do believe that internships and co ops are the most important part of your college education. It’s what applies everything that you’ve learned in the classroom and gives you the advantage outside of the classroom. With regards to Cyber, I believe it’s one of the best because of the culture and because I get to learn so much. I don’t just do paperwork or twiddle my thumbs- I’ve always got a project or a task to work on, and if I don’t, Kaitlin does all that she can to make sure I get one. There’s a lot of knowledge to be gained here if you commit to learning.
R: I recommend for people to intern here because you get a large range of areas that you can learn about: platemaking, design, customer service, prepress, etc. When you intern here, you have an opportunity to crosstrain in those departments, so your knowledge isn’t limited to just your original position.
Z: The food's not bad, either.
Tell us about living in Memphis.
K: I love it! I really do. Memphis is the best! Knoxville is very much a college town, but Memphis is very much a young professional town, so as someone in her early 20’s, living in downtown Memphis is really fun. You have everything from beautiful parks to a large variety of different restaurants to the Grizzlies to the Pyramid… I could keep going forever. It’s been really, really fun, and I’ve really enjoyed it!
Z: I agree with all of that. The city has a lot to offer for a lot of ranges of people. If you want to be very active, there’s a big night life. If you want to be casual, there are more dapper places like The Peabody and Alchemy, and so many good restaurants. Also, the intern apartments are within walking distance of Central BBQ, so that’s a huge plus.
Z: Don't you judge me. You can have a nice drink and watch the Peabody ducks!
K: And there's all of the old places in Cooper Young!
R: In addition to all of the things Kylie and Zach said, Memphis is a great place to be because everyone who lives in Memphis loves Memphis. The city really takes pride in itself and is filled with great people. Also, the housing Cyber provides is really awesome and I’ve loved it.
K: Oh yeah, the apartments! Super big and safe and wonderful.
Z: Good community, too.
What advice (in and out of the workplace) would you give to incoming students?
Z: When it comes to being the prepress intern, the biggest thing would be to get your feet wet immediately. Once you get in and get settled down, talk to as many people in the department as you can. Get to know them and learn from them because, ultimately, they’re going to be the team that holds you up and always has your back. And be sure to have an open mind when you come in!
K: Yeah, I would say communication is a big thing at work. Something I wish I had done more of that earlier on is just talking to everyone. Everyone has a large variety of knowledge, no matter their background or current position.
R: I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions.
K&Z: Oh, that's a good one.
R: Yeah. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, either. You're learning- this is an internship, and everyone knows that and is here to help you. But make sure to learn from your mistakes!
K: As far as advice for Memphis goes, I would say to just do things. Everything that you can! Have fun. Explore the city. Go check everything off of the Memphis bucket list.
Z: But be careful with your finances and have a plan!
How do you take your coffee in the mornings?
K: I don’t usually drink coffee until 2 PM, and then I put in one cream and two sugars and take four sips.
Z: No coffee for me. Sometimes I have a Coke in the morning.
R: Only OJ and protein drinks for me!
Since establishing our student programs, Cyber Graphics has had over 85 students come to work with us and fill three positions: the Prepress Internship, the Creative Services Internship, and the Manufacturing Co Op. While here, students have focused on a wide variety of special projects, including website development, photo shoots, schedule development, optimizing material handling, and more. Students report to Kaitlin Edwards (Intern Coordinator) and David Smith (Co Op Coordinator), who are both graduates of various intern programs. For more information on any of the student programs Cyber offers, go here. With any questions about the program, contact Kaitlin Edwards here.