When Mason Hill was deciding where to complete his internship as part of his New Media degree, he was looking for a place where he could truly make a difference. The New Media program at the University of Lethbridge provides technical skills needed in a rapidly changing digital world, focusing on critical thinking, creativity, ideation and communication – all important criteria when working with clients and organizations. Lethbridge Family Services (LFS), Mason says, approached him with a problem and a concrete work plan, providing him an ideal fit with his goals.

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Mason’s project while with LFS was to make it more efficient through website upgrades and modernized client intake forms. Mason was able to make information more readable and accessible for staff and visitors alike and contribute to less paper and ink waste as a result of his work. He says that he’s been able to learn new techniques for solving issues that he otherwise wouldn’t have.

“I’ve been learning the importance of accessibility and inclusivity design in different media. My internship at Lethbridge Family Services gave me experience in the area and showed ways inaccessible design is a barrier to organizations and the communities they serve.”
Mason working during his internship with Lethbridge Family Services.

“Problem-solving is an essential skill, but so is explaining how I solve a particular problem, no matter who asks," Mason says. "Also, while it’s important to fulfill job tasks, so is investing time in relationships.”

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ULethbridge Alumni brings internship experience full-circle

Mason, who completed an applied study in social media management and video production with EarthMMO, is working alongside LFS Marketing Coordinator and alum Dryden Roesch (BFA - New Media ‘17) for his internship. Dryden, who also completed an internship during his studies at ULethbridge, knows the value work-integrated learning provides students, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and the community-at-large.

Dryden (left) and Mason (right) in front of Lethbridge Family Services.
“The internship program in New Media helped immensely in building my career as a design and marketing professional. I was fortunate to earn a placement at the Galt Museum & Archives in 2017, and it brought many connections and opportunities in Lethbridge,” Dryden says.

“I’m grateful to say that it led to paid work at the museum and even stepping into the role of my previous internship supervisor for extended periods. My career trajectory has had its ups and downs over the years since graduating, but the connections I made in Lethbridge and the New Media department have always proven beneficial.”

Now in a position where he can supervise student interns, Dryden knew where he could find the right fit for the organization and its needs.

“When facing the prospect of some complex web development projects in 2024, I knew that taking on a New Media practicum student would not only be beneficial to LFS, but professionally rewarding for me personally. Because I benefited from the guidance of some amazing career mentors as an emerging professional (shoutout to Dana Inkster and Graham Ruttan), I was excited at the idea of paying it forward by providing that same opportunity to the next batch of students and burgeoning creatives.”

New Media program prepares students for future success

Connecting with New Media Internship Coordinator Ryan Harper-Brown, Dryden says the help that Mason has provided the organization has been greatly beneficial.

“Mason has already proven himself invaluable in tackling our complex web needs, and has elevated the capacity and sophistication of our communications channels. He’s taught me a lot as well! I look forward to seeing his career grow after he graduates, and am grateful I had the opportunity to work with him at LFS.”

“Being someone who enjoys solving problems, LFS caught my eye,” says Mason. “LFS were accommodating to my demanding university workload, and instead of working across various mediums, I was tasked in working within a section which I happen to specialize in. This allowed me to refine my skills, rather than work on my entire skillset broadly. I really value being able to learn every day, and this allowed me to do that.”

The Bachelor of Fine Arts - New Media degree offers students the choice of a semester-long internship or an advanced studio project, each providing students with options on expanding their learning and developing robust skillsets in practical and theoretical settings.

For non-profits like Lethbridge Family Services, it can be challenging to tackle strategic projects outside the scope of funding and staff capacity. Dryden says having the expertise of emerging New Media professionals is critical for both student growth and organizational success.

“Being able to connect with young workers through programs like those at ULethbridge is essential to the long-term sustainability of the sector. Without investing in young talent, non-profit organizations will inevitably experience talent gaps in the future.”