Each year, thanks to generous donations from endowment investors and the industry, the PRINTING United Alliance Scholarship Program is able to provide funds to students pursuing the graphic communications industry.
Applications for the 2022-23 Scholarship Program are now being accepted through the end of this month. To highlight the up-and-coming workforce and share the scholarship's impact, the Alliance spoke with past recipient Anastasia Partserniak, a former Ryerson University student.
PRINTING United Alliance: How did you first get interested in graphic communications?
Partserniak: My interest for graphic communications was sparked from a young age. Growing up, my father (an owner of a plastic packaging business overseas) would frequently lay out prototypes, flooding our living room with the newest clamshell container innovations. I later learned that there was more to packaging; there was an entire unexplored realm by the name of graphic communications. As I entered high school, I further expanded my knowledge and enrolled in design-driven courses such as communication technologies, design technologies, and visual arts. The scope and diversity of projects fascinated me, and I was curious to learn the backend processes of how we achieve the final outcome. Fast forward several years where I had the privilege of becoming a student at X University’s (formerly known as Ryerson University) Graphic Communications Management program. From that point on, my love for this industry was secured and opened new avenues of interest.
What advice would you give up-and-coming students interested in a career in the printing industry?
The biggest piece of advice I have to offer is to keep an open mind with the careers available in the printing industry. Prior to acquiring an education in graphic communications, I lacked insight to just how diverse this industry truly is and the variety of roles available. Allow yourself to immerse in learning about the different kinds of niche jobs, the outcomes of a typical project, and its overarching relationship to graphic communications. This industry is not subjected to a mere stereotypical role of a press operator or a graphic designer; there are far more unique career paths that are exciting conversation starters and may leave you more professionally fulfilled regarding your selected career path.
When researching schools and programs, what appealed to you most about the program at your current school? How did it prepare you for a career in the industry?
In search of a program that would leverage my strengths, Graphic Communications Management (GCM) was the obvious academic choice. With a rich educational scope that married art, science, and business, GCM offered a diverse curriculum to meet every student’s academic and career goals. Courses were frequently updated to reflect current industry trends and supported by numerous student-led extracurricular groups. Additionally, opportunities for international exchange trips and external competitions allowed students to apply their skill sets and be recognized by industry leaders. Towards the end of my academic journey, a mandatory internship was what truly prepared me for a career post-graduation. By initiating this opportunity, I was exposed to the practicality of business leadership, print/packaging practices, project lifecycles, and professional development. My place of work fostered meaningful relationships with my teammates and established valuable network connections. With gratitude to GCM, my academic knowledge was seamlessly integrated into my career journey.
What is your current position? What drew you to the company/role?
I currently reside as a packaging specialist with the same company that offered me my summer internship. The company produces bakery products through food service and retail channels. I was drawn by the idea of how important qualitative food packaging is to consumers and how we, as industry specialists, ensure that it preserves the product. This role exposed me to the technical aspects of packaging where testing, optimization, innovation, and sustainability were recurring themes. I was further drawn to the workplace environment established by the company. Even in the interview process, I was warmly welcomed by my (then) future employer and seamlessly found a common ground where all conversations with co-workers were natural, optimistic, and professional.
Are there any new trends that are exciting you right now or that you are excited to learn more about?
From a print industry lens, I would be extremely interested to learn more about workflow automation. As we live in a progressive society, new technological innovations strive to promote efficiency, accuracy, and quicker operations. For print, this means generating a solution that will reduce error, human touchpoints, and output phenomenal results for clients. I would be curious to observe how workflow automation will become more available in the industry and the strides it will take to improve our current processes and methodologies.
What impact did winning the Scholarship have on your education or career?
In achieving the PRINTING United Alliance Scholarship, I was financially supported for the remainder of my academic studies. Applying for this scholarship made me critically assess my academic knowledge, showcase my charisma to academic and career involvement, recognize my achievements, and justify my passion for graphic communications. Winning this scholarship also impacted my professional growth. By articulating my thoughts for the scholarship submission, I gained more confidence to take that leap of faith and be open-minded to try new career avenues that I never thought would evoke my interest. Thank you PRINTING United Alliance for this wonderful opportunity and generous support!