Hailey Fry has always been passionate about creating. What she creates doesn’t much matter.

“Any chance I get to be creative and make something that is visually appealing or appreciated by others gets me super excited,” said the PennWest Clarion senior digital media major.

Those chances have been abundant for Fry the past two summers as she’s served internships with PXD Studio (2023) and Public Knowledge (2022), two widely different industries in which she spread her creative wings, bolstered classroom knowledge with hands-on experience, and helped both employers serve their missions.

PXD Studio is a small UX Design agency in Lancaster City that helps clients create better experiences for their customers through services ranging from product design to website design. She worked as the digital media coordinator.

“PXD’s social media presence is fairly new and small; therefore, my role was created to essentially develop the backbone for all of their social media needs,” Fry said.

She has published a few posts, but most of her work was behind the scenes, including establishing a hub of documentation that will allow PXD team members to continue creating content.

“This includes guides on how to post certain types of content and process documents, as well as step-by-step guides on how to create designs on Figma (the program PXD uses),” Fry said. “Not only have I done a lot of work with copywriting, I was given many opportunities to expand my photography skills as well. I captured photos around the studio and held sessions to capture staged photos of team members collaborating.”

She worked with PXD’s content management system to update photos on the company’s website.

“My work at PXD is 100 percent of what I want to do within my field,” she said. “I won’t limit myself to this, but I am the most passionate about managing social media and creating cool graphics and designs.”

A sampling of Fry's work for PXD

Fry said her internship emphasized project management and working in teams.

“Being there allowed me to work closely with the PXD team members and has shown me the benefits of working in small teams. Everyone at PXD is driven to produce the best work and to collaborate with each other,” she said. “They take project management very seriously, which allows everyone to take on a significant role in the studio.”

Fry appreciated the work/life balance promoted at PXD.

“PXD strays from the traditional workplace and creates an environment that doesn’t make employees feel exhausted,” she said. “I loved going into the studio, because I knew I would be given fun projects while working in a comfortable space.”

Last summer, Fry completed an internship with Public Knowledge, a nonprofit organization that advocates for an open internet. Her work there was similar – creating social media content.

“The big difference was that I did a lot of copywriting for marketing emails, blog posts and press releases,” Fry said. “This was not what I had seen myself doing (in my career), but I loved learning new aspects of writing.”

At Public Knowledge, she was exposed to analytics and CMS, which solidified her background and enabled her to use the skills for her work with PXD. She gained insight into law-related topics in the communications field, which set her up for success in classes such as Communication Law and Global Communications.

“My education and my internship experiences have provided me with a great deal more knowledge in design programs and hard skill,” Fry said. “Navigating programs such as Adobe Suite and WordPress has increased my confidence in working with similar software.”

She notes that communication professor Dr. Lacey Fulton and Career and Professional Development director Dr. Erin Lewis have been instrumental in guiding her toward her goals.

Fry, who is from Mount Joy, chose PennWest Clarion because it was an affordable option that offered both her major and an excellent swim team, which made the campus feel like home. Since her freshman year, she has been recognized as a scholar-athlete every semester. Most recently, she earned the ADA Division II Academic Achievement. Last fall, the women’s swim and dive team was recognized by Scholar All-America for achieving a 3.7 team GPA, putting them in the top three among all NCAA Division II schools.

Outside of the classroom and swimming pool, Fry is historian of Clarion’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha and is co-ambassador of a newly-established chapter of Morgan’s Message, which helps to remove the stigma of mental health surrounding the student-athlete community.

“I’m a huge K-Pop nerd and a fitness enthusiast,” Fry said. “These two go hand-in-hand. If anyone catches me at the gym, my headphones are probably blasting ‘Twice.’  I also love being involved and meeting new people.”