June 06, 2009
Co-op Experience: Jane Novotny
"My co-ops have done two major things in terms of my view of the future: First, they have given me a network; and second, they have broadened my understanding of my opportunities."
With two amazing co-op semesters under her belt, Jane Novonty has gained the experience, and most importantly the confidence, to pursue her ambitions. Jane worked at Hasbro as a toy designer working on the Littlest Pet Shop (a toy franchise owned by Hasbro) for her first co-op. For her second co-op, she was a footwear designer with Puma working with a small team designing shoe packs for clients (a collection of seasonal shoes chosen to create the same theme for a specific store). The experience gained from both positions will be a valuable asset to Jane in whatever she pursues after graduation.
At Hasbro, Jane assisted designers with all aspects of the design process—from research and concepts to the final product. Jane was responsible for assisting designers in weekly presentations and attending meetings with marketers and engineers. While she was at Hasbro, Jane noticed that her employers became more confident in her work, which prepared her for her next co-op position.
“At Hasbro, I saw the entire process of making of the products. It was great to be able to see how the whole team worked together.”
When it came time for her second co-op, Jane had a much better understanding of the process of finding, and working in, a co-op position. As a footwear designer, Jane would fulfill specific design requests from clients and create themes. Eventually, she made shoe packs for future seasons by researching upcoming trends and applying colors, materials, and graphics with specific seasons in mind to create a pack of shoes. Although both companies provided her with guidance and mentoring, Jane really felt like she excelled at Puma. Her employers noticed her progress and gave her more responsibility as time went on. In the beginning, she was given design requests with very specific directions and by the end she was given larger design requests with usually only vague specifications, allowing her to exercise her creativity.
“At Puma my employer gave me a lot of trust from the very beginning which really helped me grow as a designer and gain confidence as myself as a professional.”
The Best of Both Worlds
After two very different co-op experiences, Jane believes that she has a great advantage over students who have not participated in co-ops because she now has a network of professionals for support and experience with job searching and the interview process. Working at Hasbro and Puma taught Jane how to create professional results, and it also helped her communicate with her professors in a more efficient and beneficial way. After completing both co-ops, Jane has a better understanding of her place in the working world and she could easily see herself doing either toy design or footwear design after graduation.
“My co-op positions have helped me understand what I am looking for in a company, a team.”