It’s by no simple coincidence that SCAD touts a 98% employment rate. An internship is something that will set any recent graduate aside, giving them a much better chance of employment upon graduation. It’s the difference between, “I’ve graduated and need to start looking for jobs,” and “I’m about to graduate and already have a job lined up for me.” It’s no wonder that a lot of SCAD alumni graduated with one, if not two or three internships behind their belts.

Paid or unpaid, in your hometown or hundreds of miles of way, when it comes to an internship it does matter how, when or where you’re doing it but what you get out of it — the experiences — that is what will snag you a job post-grad, doing what you love at a company that speaks your language. This summer, SCAD District’s Intern Diaries will outline the various internships SCAD students are participating in across the U.S. and beyond. Stay tuned to find out the many benefits of gaining experience in your field before graduating.

Shamar Joseph is one of 500 employees at Ancestry’s Headquarters in Lehi, Utah, and one of 43 interns, but that doesn’t meaning Joseph doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

During their internships, SCAD students are rarely the one getting the coffee and faxing documents, the skills they come in with allow them to be hands on and contribute to the work at whatever offices they intern at.

Joseph, a third-year UX major, after only a few weeks of working at Ancestry, was asked to assist the Senior UX Designer with screens that were to be handed off to developers and engineers.

“What was most rewarding was seeing my own design decisions and changes go live in the app, and knowing I officially took part in creating an experience for millions of consumer,” said Joseph about the experience.

“At Ancestry, I feel highly valued as they are happy to take insight from anyone, especially interns from around the country,” he added.

But getting to that point was far from easy. Joseph found out about the job through the Career Fair, applied online and then went through a lengthy interviewing process consisting of five rounds of interviews and a discussion about the earlier work in his portfolio.

This Brooklyn native’s work week goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and his day-to-day consists of one-on-one’s, auditing features and generating new ideas.

Fortunately enough Joseph didn’t have to save up for the internship, as Ancestry covered his travel expenses and offered him a paid internship.

Ancestry’s Lehi office has very casual and welcoming atmosphere that Joseph feels particularly comfortable in.

“The culture here is very casual . . . It is super easy and acceptable to start conversations with anyone, whether they be the CEO or a developer for the app you are working on.”

In terms of advice for students diving into the internship pool, Joseph suggests starting early and honing in on what it is you really want to get out of an internship

“Have a clear idea of what they are expecting because corporate life is a pretty big change from school. At least for me. I got into an internship as a sophomore while they were looking for juniors and higher,” said Joseph.

Like SCAD teaches it’s students, preparation and planning is important but you should also stay open to new opportunities.

“It is important to know exactly what you want to get out of an internship by its end, this way you can come into the job with more purpose. But it is also important to keep in mind that there are countless more learning opportunities,” said Joseph.

To learn more about Joseph, visit his Instagram.

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Most embarrassing moment: “Revealing I had never hiked up a mountain prior to traveling to Utah.”

Written by Asli Shebe.