The SNDF intern: We made her cry

After combing through numerous applications, a panel convened by SNDF education chair Darren Sanefski settled on Lisa Donato, a freshman at the University of Oregon, as the recipient of this year’s paid summer internship. This is the third year SNDF has sponsored a summer intern. Lisa will be working with Frank Mina and the great team at the San Francisco Chronicle beginning in July.

Lisa is something of a dynamo. In high school, she redesigned the school paper, led the launch of its online version, was a Pacemaker Award finalist, spoke on visual journalism at state conventions, was choir vice president, National Honor Society president, hosted a radio show, raised money for a local charity to feed disadvantaged children, played sports, and, oh yeah, was homecoming queen. View her NPD portfolio here. So her application accomplished two things: 1. it won; 2. it made us all feel like underachievers.

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Lisa Donato, a freshman at the University of Oregon, has won the 2013 SNDF internship contest. This summer she will join the San Francisco Chronicle. Click the image for a larger view of Lisa’s work.

How did you hear about the SNDF internship program?
Andy Rossback, the editor of the Emerald (University of Oregon’s student-run newsmagazine that I currently design for), told me about it actually the day before the deadline. It was a production night, but I managed to pull everything together and send in the application in time.

What got you interested in design?
I first developed an interest in design while participating in the production of my high school’s student newspaper, The Marshfield Times. Originally, I became involved in journalism with the intention of writing, but I quickly found myself being drawn toward the visual side. I began to realize just how much design is a part of our lives. Everyday we are exposed to hundreds of visual messages, and the seemingly simple selection of photos, colors, and typography can impact the viewer’s judgment of the product or overall message. I wanted to draw people in to actually read the stories we were writing by pairing them with creative and enticing visuals.

How did you react when you got the news?
I’m one of those people who cries when they’re really excited, angry, happy or sad, so my initial reaction was to burst into tears of course. I then proceeded to run downstairs basically hyperventilating to share the news with my poor roommate who probably thought something terrible had happened.

So — San Francisco. Excited?
I can’t even begin to express my excitement. I didn’t expect to be selected for such a big internship as a freshman, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. I can’t wait to start learning more about design from some of the most talented and experienced people in journalism. This is such an amazing opportunity and I’m very grateful to have been given it.