The best student experience comes from a blend of theory, practice, and strong mentorship. Castleton University junior Brooke Rubright is making the most of all three with her internship at Rutland Economic Development Corp. (REDC).
Brooke, a junior from Salisbury, VT, is a double major in Graphic Design and Communication, with a concentration in public relations and a creative marketing minor. She is also president of Castleton’s Content Lab, a group of graphic designers, artists, and communication driven students that takes on local projects that need creative assistance.
In her REDC internship, she found an outlet to sharpen her skills in all of her areas of interest.
“REDC has shown me the impact small businesses have on our community. Through REDC, I have learned how to communicate in a professional manner, how to network with local employers to maintain a strong understanding of available job positions in the area, and the expectations of graphic design work that can be used for social media and campaigns,” Brooke said. “I feel as though my communication skills have drastically improved. I have also been able to work with the incredible REDC team to understand how professional teams work together and collaborate in the workplace.”
In her internship, Brooke tackles a variety of important tasks for REDC, which works to make the Rutland region “the most innovative, creative, and friendly place to live, work, play, and grow a business. “
Brooke maintains REDC’s online Career Hub and works with local employers to keep it current. She has also tested her graphic design skills by working on a brochure for the MINT (Rutland’s makerspace). With the Coronavirus pandemic, she was able to take on new opportunities, including maintaining the REDC COVID-19 Resource page.
“I have always enjoyed making art and knew I wanted to study graphic design but was never sure how or what a career would look like. REDC has provided me the opportunity to work on graphic design assignments that will actually be used,” Brooke said. “I have found that my time at REDC is almost completely web-based. I am establishing skills editing and building websites, involving both my graphic design and communications passions.”
Brooke’s enthusiasm for her work has, in part, been fueled by finding strong mentors who offer feedback to help develop her skills.
“My favorite part of working with REDC has been working alongside Kim Rupe and Tyler Richardson. Kim and Tyler have been incredible mentors for me, providing me feedback, support and freedom when they give me assignments to work on,” Brooke said. “It is an incredible feeling as a college student to work and train in a place where the work you are producing is being used and respected.”
Brooke says several Castleton professors are making especially important contributions to her education. She said Graphic Design professor Bill Deforest has been a great mentor. Communication professor Dave Blow’s influence led her to declare a communication major, and Michael Talbott has supported her in her internship.
“At Castleton, I feel as though I have the full support of each professor I have met. There is constantly someone looking out for you and searching for available opportunities to help you succeed,” Brooke said.