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Finding Inspiration as a NexGen Summer Intern

This summer, our sister campaigns Give901 and Choose901 Alumni have teamed up to give college students the NexGen summer fellowship experience! Through the NexGen program, six Choose901 Alumni (aka Give901 program grads) are connecting with local businesses for summer internships—complete with weekly professional development and networking opportunities.

The goal of NexGen is create opportunity for already-talented students by paving a way for networking at companies like Supreme Staffing, Youth Villages, & City Leadership. Speaking of networking… we have a few young Memphians we’d like you to meet. 

Meet Darin:

student, NexGen participant, & Future city-changer

Hey, everyone! My name is Darin McNeal and I am 20 years old. I attend Tennessee Tech University. I am majoring in Graphic Design, with a minor in Communication Studies. I hope to become a marketing graphic designer. This summer, I am interning at City Leadership as a Choose901: Alumni Intern.

Photo: @pri_skilla

What Choose901 Partner School Did you go to?

I attended The Soulsville Charter School and graduated in 2020.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MEMPHIS MEAL?

I love honey gold wings. When I was younger, my family and I went to a wing restaurant. I ordered 20 honey gold wings and ate it all, and to this day honey gold wings will be my favorite, even though I love food.

Photo: @birdcap

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the fun design work I see around Memphis like the murals, fun/funny posters, and the graphic tees. Also, seeing other graphic designer’s work provides inspiration. In class [at Tennessee Tech], there are four other students, and while I get jealous because their work is great, it makes me work harder to improve my knowledge.

Who have you met in your fellowship that has influenced you?

A co-worker named Jordan, a graphic designer for City Leadership, has been influential this summer. When looking over her work in the past,  I was amazed at how her work looked. I asked her, “What software do you use?” and she said, “Photoshop and Illustrator.” Illustrator is a software I’m still struggling with, and she was, too, in the beginning. She just continued teaching herself, and eventually got the hang of it. That shows me that finding resources and teaching yourself will be beneficial to helping you to learn new skills.

What are you passionate about?

 I’m passionate about graphic design because you can think and create anything unimaginable. You become the voice on the posters and social media. It becomes a vibe once you create something that suits your style. I am also passionate about wanting to put my designs into merchandise like t-shirts, bags, and cups, etc. That’s why I want to be in the marketing department, as well, with my designs. I think knowing what the people want and convincing them to join an event that was on a flyer or website you created is something special.

What advice do you have for the next group of nexgen fellows?

Networking is how you get started. It’s how you create your opportunity and get your career started. Make a name for yourself and don’t wait for an opportunity to come to you.

INTERNSHIPS are MADE POSSIBLE BY COMPANIES LIKE City Leadership

City Leadership is just one of the many Memphis businesses that is investing in the future of our city through NexGen students—aka the future of Memphis’ workforce, leadership, and potential. 

Want to learn more or get involved?

Whether you’re a studnet looking ahead for next summer’s internship, a business interested in partnering with NexGen, or just a regular old Memphian passionate about possibilities—we’re excited you’re excited!

Contact kristen@give901.org for more information. 

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