Reflecting on a summer interning at Vault

Working with the next generation can be a win-win

Katarina Newcamp

Katarina Newcamp at the entrance to the Geonetric building, home to McNary Marketing and Design and Vault Coworking and Collaboration Space.

For the past two years, McNary Marketing and Design has been able to work with high school students as summer interns through Kirkwood Community College’s Workplace Learning Connection program. (Other areas might have similar programs – check your local community college.)

This year we were lucky to work with Katarina Newcamp, now a senior at Washington High School. When she came to us, she was interested in marketing, psychology and community. She wanted to learn what factors influence decision making, from the design of a message to the ease of making a transaction.

In addition to helping out with McNary Marketing work, Katarina made a huge impact on the Vault Coworking and Collaboration Space community over the summer. Joshua has been an advisor to Vault for years, and with the addition of Katarina, some often-discussed community projects were able to move forward.

We love participating in WLC because we get to see the interns grow and learn in the short amount of time we spend together. Many high schoolers aren’t aware that Cedar Rapids has a creative community like Vault or that self-employment is a viable career choice. We also get to learn from them by seeing first-hand how the next generation thinks and what they value. Truly a win-win experience.

Here’s Katarina’s reflection:

As a high school student with limited experience and a world full of opportunity, it can be difficult to narrow down unique interests into viable career options. I have always been interested in learning about how the things that individuals and companies do influence the decisions that consumers make, how a certain label or jingle can make a product more popular, and how ease of access to that product can increase its sales. Interning at McNary Marketing and Design and the Vault Coworking and Collaboration Space gave me insight into the world of marketing and helped me discover real-world applications for my interest in advertising, psychology and branding. The skills, both marketing and business related, will serve me well throughout my career, regardless of what industry I pursue.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about my time as an intern this summer was the variability of task that I was able to attempt. I created an email campaign, designed t-shirts, created personas from market segmentation research, made informational table tents, analyzed local and global coworking competitors, attended 1 Million Cups and contributed to the new Vault directory and website. My favorite project was creating the outreach email campaign because of the variety of tasks it required: research, writing, design and formatting. During this process I discovered that the visual aesthetic and readability of a campaign is infinitely important to its success, I also learned that not every effort will be successful right away and the best thing to do when a project fails is to revise, improve and resend.

The skills I acquired this summer were not solely marketing related, however. I learned the value of networking, how to efficiently and effectively communicate and that it’s important to ask for help when you need it. The most difficult skill that I, a very non confrontational person, practiced was urging people to finish a task, although it may not have been at the top of their to-do list.

One of my most educational experiences this summer was working in a small business atmosphere where each employee has a wide variety of everyday tasks, ranging from payroll and finance to web design and data input. I typically enjoy working with others on projects and collaborating on tasks, which happens less in a small business atmosphere, and was something that I found difficult to get used to. Luckily, McNary Marketing is located in the Vault Coworking space and, although an individual may not have any true coworkers, they have a floor full of like-minded, encouraging entrepreneurs.

The thing that I like best about marketing as a whole is that it is such a varied field and so many different pieces go into making a successful company or brand: website design, advertising, market research, video production, etc. Going forward I am excited to continue exploring marketing as a career opportunity. The range of possibility that a career in marketing can offer me is seemingly endless, and i’m thrilled to meet more creative, collaborative people who can help me along my journey.

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AAF Joshua Speaking