Each year, thanks to the support of generous donations from endowment investors and industry leaders, the PRINTING United Alliance Scholarship Program provides educational assistance to students dedicated to careers in graphic communications.This year's program will award 25 students $2,000 each for the 2021-22 academic year, and is accepting applications through April 30. 2021.
To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time for the fall 2021 semester at a PRINTING United Alliance Educational Institution Member school; committed to a career in graphic communications, printing technology, or printing management; and maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
The Alliance recently caught up with past recipients to see where they are now, and how the scholarship helped them in their journeys in pursuing printing careers. The following is a Q&A with Brittany Whitestone, who studied Graphics & Multimedia Technology at California University of Pennsylvania.
The Alliance: How did you first get interested in graphic communications? How has your education influenced your career choice?
After starting this program, I became a part of SkillsUSA and represented the United States at the WorldSkills competition in Russia after winning Gold at the National competition two years in a row. Through this experience, I was able to work with various companies and meet professional printers from all over the world. Printing became my purpose. I went to college at the California University of Pennsylvania in order to expand my knowledge even further. I wanted to know as much about the world of graphic communications as I could. The [PRINTING United Alliance] scholarship helped me to be able to continue my dreams and further my education. Without the education that I received, I would not have known that this was a career path that I could take. My education showed me astonishing world of graphic communications.
Whitestone: I began my career in printing when I started in the Print Production program at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center. I originally started this program to be a graphic designer, but the more I immersed myself into the world of printing and graphic communications, I grew a deep passion and appreciation for it. I loved coming into class and hearing the presses running and knowing that what we were going to create that day would bring someone’s vision to life.
What advice would you give to a new student also looking to start a career in this field?
I believe that if you want to get into a career in the printing industry, it is important to learn every aspect of the printing process. Each step is interconnected, and understanding a variety of the production steps allows you to master the action at hand. For instance, if you want to be an estimator, you need to know how each machine works in order to properly estimate the job. Additionally, understanding a variety of tasks will increase your employability. Your vast knowledge will allow you to be more versatile and flexible within the company. The more you immerse yourself into the printing world, the more you’ll appreciate the things you can create.
What is your current position?
In my current position at Printing Specialists, my main responsibility is to work in the digital department. With the wide range of things that I have learned through my education, I also help out working on offset presses, in bindery, and in prepress. My well-rounded training has pushed me to be an asset to the company I work for.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I love coming into work and being able to run various presses. Right now, one of my favorite things about my job is the versatility. Every day is a new adventure. However, in the future, I would love to be an estimator. I have a passion for planning a job through each step of the production process. After working in the position that I am in, I will have more knowledge that will assist me in my future career choices.
What impact did winning the PRINTING United Alliance (formerly SGIA) Scholarship have on your education or career?
Receiving the [PRINTING United Alliance] scholarship helped me to further my education. The resources that I gained through my time in school has helped me to jump-start my career. I have become a valuable asset in my job because I had a well-rounded education. The [PRINTING United Alliance] scholarship made it possible for me to receive the knowledge that I did. Without the graciousness of [PRINTING United Alliance], I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Current and incoming students: Don't miss the opportunity to apply for the 2021 Scholarship Program. Learn more and apply before April 30. Not sure if your institution is a member? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.