Rosalba Dominguez, a Salt Lake Community College student, was able to obtain a job through her internship in Washington DC working as a graphic designer—assisting and planning for the 2013 National Summit in Orlando, Florida.
Because of the hard-work, dedication and commitment Dominguez had presented, she is now currently working as a freelance graphic designer, pursuing the career she has always wanted.
“DC was pretty incredible, I met some amazing people out there. The exciting part was that I could do it, [that] I could start over in a new city and a new job,” says Dominguez in an online interview. “I love, love, love design. I love the possibilities of it and [I] find more passion in it than anything else.”
While majoring in visual arts early last year, Dominguez was also working for the SLCC Institutional Marketing department when an opportunity to promote the DC Internship Program came along. Ready for change, due to recent tragic events, Dominguez saw this as a sign and quickly applied for an internship.
SLCC provides an internship program through Student Life and Leadership, where students can be funded to work and intern in DC.
“I needed this, I needed a change,” says Dominguez. “I [saw this] as something to live for—a temporary escape from a lot of sadness.”
Just a few weeks after her interview for the DC Internship Program, Dominguez was rewarded and received the chance to intern.
After the interview, it then came down to finding a placement in Washington DC.
“I applied everywhere, even [at] the White House,” says Dominguez.
With fortunate success, Dominguez found a great placement. Member and representative of The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), Mark Archuleta Wheatley, good friend and mentor to Dominguez, directed her to apply for the organization.
NHCSL is an organization that represents and serves the interests of Hispanic state legislators from all over the states, territories and commonwealths. Their goal is to organize Hispanic state legislators, who advocate on behalf of the Hispanic communities.
“I was hesitant at first since my background is more in the arts, photography and graphic design [field],” says Dominguez. “NHCSL is non-partisan, but definitely takes on interns who are policy driven.”
Under a certain time constraint and having missed several deadlines, Dominguez had to make a decision based on which internships were most important to her.
“[The] NHCSL interviewed me and I was sold,” says Dominguez.
NHCSL Interim Executive Director Rhina Villatoro was a huge supporter for Dominguez, assisting her in volunteering and taking part in events that were focused on designing.
Villatoro also allowed Dominguez take charge in these certain areas, working with local Salt Lake City design group AIGA, the Professional Association for Design.
”My favorite part about the internship was working with my boss Rhina, she believed in me more than I believed in myself,” says Dominguez. “She taught me to have faith in myself. [Villatoro] worked with me as a peer not just as my boss, she valued what [I] had to offer and saw [my] potential.”
The internship at NHCSL was an extremely beneficial experience, one that has opened mass amount of doors and opportunities.
“I learned that I actually enjoy politics more than I thought. I realized I am great at working with these types of people,” says Dominguez. “As far as a career as a designer, this position gave me the platform to be their contracted graphic designer, giving me the opportunity to put this work in my portfolio and hopefully have other clients as NHCSL.”
Dominguez achieved and accomplished so much in the past year, none of which could have been possible without the support of her family and friends, including Assistant Vice President of Institutional Marketing and Communications Alison McFarland and Visual Art and Design professor Kerry Gonzales.
Her current job as a freelance graphic designer did not come easy. There were definite struggles, but it all has its reward in the end.
“Ask for help along the way. Set goals for yourself, even if you don’t think you will complete them in your allotted time frame, you will,” says Dominguez. “I set a goal [for myself] that I would move to Washington DC or [in] the East Coast, and here I am. There [are] endless possibilities, it’s believing in yourself and taking a chance.”