In today’s competitive job market, Georgia Tech students strive to stand out among their peers by producing compelling portfolio projects and gaining real-world work experience as interns and freelancers. The CoLab, a studio space run by the Ivan Allen College School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC), is a new outlet for career development that provides students with guidance, resources, and work opportunities.
Inside the CoLab, which is located in the Skiles Classroom Building, current students and alumni from the Literature, Media, and Communication and Computational Media programs can use state of the art design, development, and editing software to work on their creative endeavors. They can also meet one-on-one with Jillann Hertel, director of the CoLab, for portfolio and résumé reviews.
“In the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, we seek to innovate at the intersection of the humanities and technology,” Hertel said. “The CoLab extends this mission to career development in order to help our students and alumni tackle professional challenges.”
While the CoLab aims to prepare students for the jobs they will pursue after leaving Georgia Tech, it gives them opportunities to develop critical skills by giving back to the campus community.
The CoLab gallery, for example, has partnered with LMC faculty to offer students hands-on experiences in exhibition creation ranging from curation to marketing. The CoLab can also help connect students with on-campus clients for creative and technical projects. Additionally, students have the ability to work or intern for the CoLab as in-house designers, writers, and content creators.
As CoLab director and creative director of LMC, Hertel oversees CoLab client projects and serves as a liaison between academia and other professions. Hertel is an industry veteran whose clients have ranged from Turner Broadcasting to independent record labels.
“I founded the CoLab because of the skepticism that students in the humanities tend to face from those who don’t understand that they do indeed have marketable skills in addition to their understanding of history, theory, and analysis,” she said.
Looking ahead, Hertel hopes to see more members of the LMC community utilizing the CoLab’s resources. She believes Georgia Tech’s liberal arts students are uniquely positioned to thrive in the workforce, and the CoLab exists to support them as they begin to plan for the future.
“We’re in an evolving career landscape that is only getting more competitive,” Hertel said. “By giving students access to professional guidance and tools, we can help them sharpen their skills and set them up for success.”