Designing a Brighter Future

Picture of Joanna Stallworth.
Picture of Joanna Stallworth.

The University Libraries have many opportunities and internships that you would not expect that can grow and shape new skills in unlikely areas. This was the case for Joanna Stallworth, a newly graduated UNL student who had no experience in graphic design until she applied to work at the University Libraries in her sophomore year.

Stallworth has only praise for her time at the libraries and is so thankful to have gained so much experience. Stallworth learned skills and values in her job at the University Libraries that she still uses every day.

“Everyone around you is so supportive and wants you to learn,” says Stallworth in an interview. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without Erin,” she said when talking about her position with Peek Industries: a start up in Omaha Nebraska.

Erin Colonna is the resident graphic designer at the University Libraries and creates graphics that you see every day. Stallworth was the first student assistant Colonna hired and worked with.

“I hired Joanna to help me create visuals for social media. She would help me by getting things ready for exhibits at the library, by cleaning up pictures from the achieves or taking photos I needed around the library.” Said Colonna.

Stallworth interned with Colonna for almost two years learning the tricks of the graphics trade. Stallworth, an undeclared sophomore, ended up graduating with a graphics design degree and a communications minor all because of the great things she experienced on the job.

“One project that my students always do is the student spotlight, they get to interview people from the library, come up with concept art, do critiques all while using University guidelines, just like I would.” Said Colonna, while speaking about Joanna. “I like to work with my students and teach them what it’s going to be like in the real world.”

“Every day, Erin made the library feel like a safe place: beyond the workplace. I try to take the values I learned there and use them every day at my new job,” Stallworth said. This amazing opportunity guided Stallworth to a career path, and a passion she will have for the rest of her life. This internship and experiences were ones to remember and ones that Stallworth will never forget.