UC co-op leads to job at P&G

DAAP graduate found her home at UC and made lifelong connections through study abroad and co-op

For Grace Hertlein, the University of Cincinnati was more than just taking classes and completing projects — it was a place to get involved, find her passions and jump-start her career.

The recent graduate of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) fell in love with the sense of community she felt at the university and the lifelong support she’s gained as a Bearcat.

“I think that my time at UC was rooted in my love for the university and my spirit for the community,” Hertlein says. “UC gives you the opportunity to learn from so many different types of people, and you can get the experience on co-op, research, internships or teaching that will allow you to really stand out when it’s time to graduate and find a job.”

Grace Hertlein, dressed warmly for a football game, poses with a friend and the UC Bearcat.

Grace Hertlein (on right) poses with UC's mascot.

Through the cooperative education program within DAAP, Hertlein engaged in hands-on job experience every other semester. Her fifth and final co-op was with Cincinnati-based consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. doing innovation design for a detergent, and the graphic designer recently began her first full-time job at P&G working in design management for a fabric softener product.

“They were all so much fun,” Hertlein says of her co-op experiences, two of which landed her in Washington, D.C. “I worked for the federal government, which was intimidating but exciting. It was cool to live in a new part of the country.”

Hertlein also lived in Madrid, Spain, for six weeks as her first experience in the University Honors Program.

Grace Hertlein poses in UC gear on the bleachers of Nippert Stadium.

Hertlein stands on the bleachers of Nippert Stadium.

“That was really amazing because again I was being exposed to a part of the world I’d never seen before,” she says. “I also became much more confident in myself because I had lived somewhere else for a month and a half and they spoke another language.”

Opportunities like studying abroad and getting involved in the campus community were what made Hertlein’s time at UC special.

“The thing that I loved about DAAP was that I was getting a world-class design education, but I also had a very diverse range of other experiences available to me,” Hertlein says. “I wasn’t just going to an art school. I was going to a university.”

Along with her degree in graphic design, the ambitious graduate double-majored in Spanish. She hopes to incorporate the language into her career, noting that P&G has a lot of international partners on their team, many of whom speak Spanish.

I wasn't just going to an art school. I was going to a university.

UC graduate Grace Hertlein

Hertlein was also active in numerous UC organizations such as student government, DAAP Tribunal and the Student Alumni Council. She served as a DAAP Ambassador and a university tour guide, giving campus tours every Friday.

When asked how she managed such a busy schedule, Hertlein laughs. “I also wonder that sometimes,” she says. But the honor student says she always put DAAP first.

“Sometimes I had to pick and choose where I spent my time, but it was a good balance,” she says. “I signed up for so many different things and it took me a little while to figure out what I really loved. And I think that’s a challenge everyone has to go through in college.”

Hertlein says her favorite memory from UC was the homecoming of 2017. As the branding and marketing chair of the Student Alumni Council, she designed the homecoming branding.

Grace Hertlein poses with two other students in front of a grassy hill in Spain, two with their arms up to form the letters "UC" while the other bares her teeth like a bearcat.

Hertlein (far right) shows her UC spirit during her study abroad in Spain.

“It was the first time that I had designed anything on such a big scale,” she says. “It was really rewarding being trusted as a student to do that job, and it was really rewarding seeing so many people engage with my designs.”

Wherever her career may take her, the lifelong Bearcat wants to remain engaged in Cincinnati.

“I think everyone that passes through UC is tied together. There’s this huge community of people that I know will support me as I move through my career,” Hertlein says. “I know I can rely on those people, and they can rely on me.”

Featured image at top: Grace Hertlein poses in front of the DAAP building.

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