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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Vanderzee interns at Billboard

Saturday, November 3, 2007  
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By Jeremy Schofield

Graphic design junior, Amber Vanderzee interned at Billboard magazine last summer in New York City. She took the internship to fulfill an art elective requirement in her degree program.

“I want to live in New York,” Vanderzee said. “I even moved up there before they told me I got the internship.”

Billboard is a magazine about music, bands, new CDs and it creates lists of the top music.

“My job was to cut celebrities out of pictures using Photoshop and to put them in various places in the magazine,” Vanderzee said. “Rod Stewart was particularly hard because of his hair.”

Vanderzee also helped deliver things around New York, compiled mock-up books and even got one of her illustrations into the magazine.

“I would say that you really learn more at your job than you do at school,” Vanderzee said.

At this internship she learned about the programs the industry uses, how things are done and general knowledge of the city.

“On one of my first days in New York, I tried to pay for a taxi with a credit card,” Vanderzee said. “It was pretty embarrassing.”

Vanderzee acquired the internship through one of the radio shows her father works for. When they went to a radio convention, she talked to the marketing director from Billboard. Vanderzee maintained contact all school year until the summer when the director offered her an interview.

“I don’t think they would have given me an interview if my portfolio hadn’t looked great, and it wouldn’t have looked great if my teachers hadn’t stressed about presentation, matting and cleanliness of our work,” Vanderzee said.

Michael O’Keefe, professor of art and design, has helped Vanderzee add to her portfolio during her time at Oklahoma Christian.

“Students work on a project for three or four weeks and then turn it in to be graded,” O’Keefe said. “They get five different assignments in class each semester. At the end of their senior year they throw some out and keep 10 or 12, and then you have a portfolio.”

According to Vanderzee, Billboard employees were most impressed her craftsmanship skills, and they were shocked to see how well everything was mounted on matboard and how clean everything looked.

Vanderzee explained she has been told by people, along with the art director at Billboard, this is what makes Oklahoma Christian students stand out among other job and intern applicants.

Since completing the Billboard internship, Vanderzee has been working toward her ultimate goal of working at Seventeen Magazine.

She has already sent her résumé to Seventeen Magazine and had a breakfast interview with one of the executives at the magazine.

Vanderzee believes she was given the interview at Seventeen Magazine because they saw she had experience in the field.

“Amber has a dream, and she is taking the action to achieve it,” O’Keefe said. “It takes guts to move up to New York without knowing anyone at 20. That’s the real story."

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