As a self-proclaimed introvert, Allison Stroyan had a major aversion to networking. But getting out of her comfort zone and putting herself out there was what ultimately got her an internship—and eventually full-time employment—with FastSigns in Crystal Lake.
A graphic arts student at MCC, Stroyan started telling anyone who would listen that she was looking for experience in the design field.
“A connection of mine who had done business with FastSigns asked them if they would be interested in taking on an intern,” she said. “Luckily, they said yes.”
Stroyan was excited to start applying everything she was learning in her classes.
“Especially having done my first year at MCC online, I was interested in getting hands-on experience with large format printers and color matching. The internship gave me the opportunity to do that.”
She started the internship in February of 2022, helping to interpret client requests, reading and rendering work orders, and preparing and submitting proofs.
“Processing multiple work orders a day was the most helpful learning experience for me since a lot of class work in design can be slower-paced,” she said.
Jody Kemp, the owner of FastSigns in Crystal Lake, said they hadn’t considered taking on an intern in the past, but were very glad they did.
“Allison was a self-starter from day one,” Kemp said. “A few months after she started her internship here, she graduated from MCC—and I just knew I had to add her to our full-time staff. She is a huge asset to our business.”
“I would encourage other students looking for internships or employment to treat each class project like you’d present it to a client,” Stroyan said. “Compile your projects at the end of the semester in a portfolio. After FastSigns reached out to me, they asked to see my work and I was able to quickly send them a PDF of my best samples. It’s a lot of work upfront, but once it’s done it’s so worth it.”
Stroyan has been working at FastSigns since the end of her internship.
“I love it!” she added.
For more on internships at MCC, visit www.mchenry.edu/internships.