Union College’s location in a prime city on the “Silicone Prairie” means great internship opportunities for Union students looking to hone their skills, network and get credit, too. And nobody knows this better than Tanner Deming, who landed an internship with Lincoln-based Hudl, a fast-growing tech company that provides sports video services for professional and school athletic teams all over the world.
Deming first arrived at Union from his native California because he wanted to live closer to extended family. He tried a psychology major, and later English. But it wasn’t until he took an Intro to Graphic Arts course that he knew he had found his calling.
“Over the years, I’ve become a much more visual person and I love solving problems,” he said.
Deming decided on graphic design because of his desire to have the freedom to work for and with companies that hold values he supports. “Every company needs design support and I know this is an area I can do to help advance a company’s goals,” said Deming.
Deming connected with Hudl through Meet the Pros, an annual event sponsored by the Omaha chapter of the American Advertising Federation that fosters creativity and provides an opportunity for the up-and-coming in the creative field to network and learn from the more experienced.
Several graphic design professors require students to take their portfolio to the event, where local professionals take time to review student portfolios and provide feedback. This motivated Deming to update his portfolio and take advantage of the professional advice—and ultimately make a connection with Hudl.
“One thing Meet the Pros does well is give students a deadline and a goal to reach with their portfolios,” said Deming. “My portfolio is the main reason I got my internship—because it documents my process.”
Deming went into his internship ready for new experiences and well-prepared, thanks in part to his education at Union. “This last year I had several classes from Alan Orrison,” he said. “The broad range of skills he taught me and the variety of unique assignments he gave have already proven invaluable.”
He also appreciates the way professors try to help class experiences mimic real life. “The focused attention from professors has been a big benefit to me as well. Some class assignments had a fast turnover and building that skill has been a huge help since in the workforce there isn’t always a lot of time to get projects completed,” he said.
Growing on the job
Deming loved the new adventure. “From the first day I was given projects that are relevant and gave help to the marketing team,” he explained. “The people and culture of Hudl really empowers and trusts interns to do real work that has an impact. It’s an awesome feeling to see your work out in the world, and I am so grateful to Hudl for giving me the environment to learn and grow as a designer.”
But Deming discovered internships aren’t only about developing career-specific skills. “The most important thing I have learned so far is that it’s okay to ask a lot of questions,” he said. “As an intern, you’re not expected to know everything, so it’s one of the best times to learn.”
He believes his experience at Hudl had a lasting impact on his career. “This internship has helped me to really hone my workflow—they way I approach and complete projects,” Deming explained. “This has affected how I approach freelance work as well as how I will approach class projects this coming school year.”
After his internship, Deming understands the importance of experience outside the classroom. “I’ve been told by a number of professors that an internship can be one of the most beneficial educational experiences in a collegiate career, and I won’t disagree. Hudl is such a great company. With so many wonderful employees who make an impact on the sports/technology world, it is a privilege to work there and learn from them.”
As for Deming’s advice to those considering pursuing design career, he says it’s the determination to keep creating that matters most. “What really counts as a design student, no matter where you are, is creating a lot of stuff. Doing projects outside of school and work is so important. Do what you’re inclined to and it will resonate with someone.”
By Danica Eylenstein, student writer