Environmental Studies to Marketing: Natalia Garcia ’17
As a marketing associate at SmartSign, Natalia Garcia ’17 uses her creativity to increase company sales. An environmental studies major at Oberlin, Garcia is using what she learned during her internships to make her mark in the professional world.
What were some key moments at Oberlin that led you to your current position?
My first internship in college came through the Career Center. I landed a winter-term marketing internship at a startup called Susty Party, a company with four or five full-time employees and cofounded by an Oberlin environmental studies major. My team valued me, my opinions, and my labor; I fell in love with the company. I ended up interning with Susty Party for the summer and another winter term. That opportunity really opened doors for me down the road, gave me marketable skills, and taught me how to sell myself and products.
How did the courses in your environmental studies major and your internship opportunities nurture the ways you think about your work now?
Many of my Oberlin classes were about problem-solving. I learned how to ask the right questions in order to understand what I am supposed to take away from new material. I took a seminar on global and local issues with Rumi Shammin, which helped me tremendously in thinking about issues on macro and micro levels. Since the major is so interdisciplinary, I took other classes such as Social Psychology and Urban Development, which I brag about during interviews.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is learning! My job is super technical. I didn’t really know Photoshop that well or anything about coding prior to my arrival. Since the company I work for is so high-tech, we can trace purchases and revenue in real time. It’s cool to know that we made $20,000 in sales in a day from one of my emails.
If you had to tell someone why you get up in the morning to do this work, what would you say?
I get up in the morning to create! I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person, and yet here I am in a creative role. I love having the freedom to reinvent layouts and user experience, and that those two changes can positively increase sales. I like that my team and office value my aesthetic and trust me to make final decisions on designs.