Graduating senior Sydney Proffer reflects on how her internship with the College of Arts and Science has taught her the importance of teamwork and communication and prepared her for a future in graphic design.
Chels Fabian
School of Visual Studies
Sydney Proffer

Sydney Proffer, a senior Art major graduating in December 2023
(Photo credit: Gabby Gray)

As a transfer student to the University of Missouri during her sophomore year, Sydney Proffer jumped right into the School of Visual Studies’ graphic design sequence. Outside the classroom, Proffer got involved with student organizations — including Little Sister of the Gold Rose, Transfer Experience and Advising Mentors, and Tau Sigma — as well as experiences that let her apply what she learned inside the classroom.

After graduating a semester early and with honors in December 2023, Proffer plans to build a career designing packaging and branding for a national brand like Trader Joe’s. The experience, knowledge and skills she gained as a graphic design intern for the College of Arts and Science has made Proffer feel more prepared than ever to take her passion for graphic design and art to the world outside Mizzou.

Read on for a Q&A with Proffer about her experiences at Mizzou and in her A&S internship.

How did you end up as the A&S graphic design intern?  
I ran into this internship when I was trying to find something to fill a 3-hour art credit in the spring 2023 semester. Due to conflicts with other coursework, I decided last minute that an internship would be the best use of my time and began applying on Handshake. After a quick interview and registration process, I jumped right in!

What kinds of projects have you worked on during your internship?  
Right after I was hired, my first project was to create an advertisement that appeared in the Columbia Missourian. Since then, I’ve been taking on projects like on-brand graphics for web and print, stickers for specific events and departments, and creating t-shirt and button designs. I’ve kind of become known as the button girl and I have a running collection of my designs that I’ve gathered from each event I attend.

I’ve also worked on some projects for specific departments and events, including the new Mizzou Theatre header that’s used on promotional artwork for upcoming theater events. I’ve also created promotional art for the Golden Gala happening this coming spring.

It’s really cool to see my designs come to life! I’ve seen my work all over the place, and it’s very rewarding to get to point it out to other people.


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Sample of Proffer's artwork
Sample of Proffer's artwork
Sample of Proffer's artwork
Sample of Proffer's artwork

What have been your favorite things about your time in this internship? 
One of my favorite things has been the team I’ve gotten to work with. Even though I’m the only student in the office, everyone made me feel welcome and took the time to give me meaningful feedback on the designs I created. Through this internship, I’ve met other creatives and had experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise. For instance, I got the opportunity to tour the Residence on the Quad and my art was just chosen to be used this year on the Provost’s greeting card!

Most importantly, I’ve been introduced to what the creative world looks like in a professional setting. This internship has helped me understand the values of teamwork, communication, and how to better handle criticism and feedback. I’m really happy with the opportunities I’ve had through this internship and it’s been very helpful in preparing me for the future.

What’s your plan after graduation? 
I hope to continue my job at Lakeshirts – I’ve been a photo editor on their marketing team for about a year and a half – and, since I’ll have more time, take on more creative jobs for the company.

I’m still looking around for something permanent, but my dream job would be designing packaging and branding for a company like Trader Joe’s. I’ve made so many connections through this internship and I feel confident knowing I can reach out to my team for advice in the future.

Give a shoutout to anyone who made a big difference during your internship! 
Shoutout to the A&S communications and events teams – Amanda Long, Lenny Rahaman, Kyla Dunn, Liz Ronecker, and Rosemary Frank – for helping me through this past year! I’ve had a great time getting to know all of them and I’ve learned so much from the work I’ve gotten to help with.