Land Acknowledgment Poster for Open House 2019

Cal Poly Orientation

Nearly a hundred design projects made to help new students feel welcome, comfortable, and included

Internship, 2017–2020


Close to one hundred design pieces, thousands of event photos, and (hopefully) a few classes of happier new students


Print, Digital, Branding, Presentations, Web, Photography


Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Office, Drupal, HTML, CSS


Kindness and Positivity, Education and Progress

Three years and nearly a hundred pieces later

As a student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Orientation played a pretty substantial role in my college career. I volunteered as an Orientation Leader for three years, trained other Orientation Leaders for two, and also worked as the department’s Multimedia and Marketing Intern from 2017 until the end of my time at Cal Poly.

During my time in the office, I answered my share of phone calls, managed to memorize our school’s fight song frontwards, backwards, and sideways, and designed close to a hundred pieces for print and web use (time flies!). I also photographed events, helped run AV in our Performing Arts Center, and pieced together some Drupal 7 workarounds to get our website template a little closer to workable.

Below are just a couple of pieces from my time with the department, plus some bits about what I learned throughout. If you’re curious, feel free to reach out for more details and to ask questions about my time with Orientation—or to hear my (very poor) rendition of our fight song.

The Orientation One Sheet document set against a light tan background. The document is a printed one-pager that features overviews of the programs offered, staff contact information, and statistics about program outcomes.

We’ve got the numbers to prove it.

One of the print projects I designed annually was the New Student and Transition Programs (NSTP—the official name for Orientation) One Sheet, which provided an overview of our programs, our staff and partners, and data on student outcomes. We distributed these to campus partners and kept a few in the office to reference for quick answers during phone calls.

A postcard for the Week of Welcome Cross Cultural Experience set against a light tan background. The postcard features a tagline and imagery of students cheering during Orientation events.

Plus mailers and handouts too.

I designed mailers, postcards, and handouts for all three of our main Orientation programs—Open House, SLO Days, and Week of Welcome—as well as for individual programs within them, like the Week of Welcome Cross Cultural Experience. These were both mailed to students and distributed on campus.

A poster for Cal Poly's Open House 2019 event set against a light tan background. The poster features the event graphic, dates, event information, and images from past Open House events.

Designing event marketing materials for thousands of guests

Cal Poly’s annual Open House brings current and prospective students and supporters, alumni, and community members to campus for a weekend of hands-on activities put on by academic departments, clubs, and organizations. I designed posters, mailers, and other promotional graphics for Open House, like the poster above for Open House 2019.

A poster for Poly Canyon Outdoor Cinema set against a light tan background. The poster looks similar to 90s movie theater interiors with bright colors and a dark background. It features an event graphic and event information.

Creating themed and event-specific materials and promotions

I even had a chance to work on some themed content for specific, one-off events, like this poster for Poly Canyon Outdoor Cinema (with some late 80s movie theater vibes) during our summer orientation sessions.

Six slides from the Orientation 2020 PowerPoint template shown side-by-side in two rows, with three slides in each row. They are filled with placeholder images and text and set against a gold background.

Working with and creating for a university‑wide design system

Partway through my internship, our entire university rebranded—colors, typefaces, the whole gamut—which meant all of our materials needed to be redesigned from the ground up. I actually loved getting to design within those constraints across print and screen and the challenge of figuring out how to create pieces that, while cohesive with the brand, were uniquely ours.

Presentation templates used by dozens and seen by over a thousand

I designed a PowerPoint presentation template based on the new university colors and type (ignore my snarky placeholder text). Shown above are slides from the template file itself—other staff and students then flowed in content to make each presentation their own. Decks made with the template were seen by hundreds of students and supporters from across the university.

Four panels from the Perspective Project set against a light tan background. The Perspective Project panels feature titles and activity descriptions for physical activities (for example, to fill out a piece of paper and attach it to one of the panels, et cetera.)

Designing a physical installation piece

While I usually worked on print or digital pieces, this one stood out just because of how different it was—a big physical installation piece for our annual Open House event. I designed eight panels, one for each activity our Open House Committee created that would help students engage with and better understand their identity and how it fit it at Cal Poly.

Once I had designed these digitally, we had transparent stickers printed with the text and more detailed graphic elements, while all of the color blocking and larger elements were hand-painted by members of Open House Committee onto 4x8-foot panels and then assembled into the final installation piece.

A folder for new students set against a light tan background. The folder features program graphics and photos of students at various Orientation events.

Designing the first thing you pick up as a Cal Poly Mustang

Each new student attending their first orientation session gets a packet of information stuffed inside a folder, above—I was able to design the folder as well as some of the interior pieces, like a “Roadmap to Cal Poly” showing steps to complete before arriving in the fall, flyers showing how to download the Cal Poly Now app, and more printed tidbits.

A photo of me smiling behind my camera against a blurry bokeh background. I'm wearing a red flannel and a white Open House 2020 shirt.

A look behind the scenes

Here’s me with my photographer hat on during our annual Open House—I also designed the shirt I am (and the other staff and volunteers are) wearing in this photo. The photos and video we shot during these events would end up driving our marketing materials the next year. Credit for this image goes to the very talented Nick Tolas (thanks pal!).

Giving credit where credit's due

During my internship, I worked with several different teams of students and staff members, many of whom provided support, much-needed feedback, and some really awesome project briefs. Credit goes to each of the student leaders who worked with me to make sure all of us were happy with these projects over the years. And a huge thank you (and credit as well) to my bosses, to the two interns before me who walked me into the office to apply for the job, and to the student staff and interns I worked alongside.

Designing and illustrating a collaborative, family-sourced digital cookbook

Read more about who I am, what I've done, and what my values are