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The Sequel

Hi again! In case we haven’t met before, my name .......

Hi again! In case we haven’t met before, my name is Rachel. I am currently in my third year at the University of Cincinnati, DAAP, where I am pursuing a major in Industrial Design and a minor in Fine Art. This fall, I had the incredible opportunity to return to Hasbro for a second co-op. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “the sequel is never as good as the original.” However, my co-op with the Play-Doh team might just have proven that theory wrong.

Now, the beginning of this co-op was very different than my previous one. In January, I was walking through the Hasbro office in Rhode Island, even shaking hands with my new teammates. Flashforward to September, where setting up the VPN on my laptop has taken me the better part of three days. Talking to my new teammates via Microsoft Teams took some getting used to, but once I was settled in, our meetings flowed just as naturally as if we were talking in person. My managers did a great job of involving me and including me in team decisions, even from a remote setting.

A typical day for me includes a lot of ideation and sketching, refining concepts for projects, and communicating with vendors. The Play-Doh team always has something new and exciting in the works, so my “blue-sky” thinking is always ready for anything. No two days are ever the same, and in the same week, I might work on several vastly different projects with incredibly varied themes and objectives. The expanse of play is essentially endless, so my job as a design co-op always goes far beyond the ordinary.

One of the greatest challenges of this term is, of course, working remotely. From my experience, the most difficult aspect of the remote work environment is the complicated task of creating personal connections within your company. Fortunately, one of my managers introduced me to several of her contacts throughout the company and encouraged me to reach out and have one-on-one conversations with each of them. Each conversation that I had increased my knowledge about the company and gave me insights into the different roles that each team member plays in bringing a new product to life.

Another fantastic experience during this co-op was Hasbro’s annual Global Day of Joy. Naturally, this year’s event was very different than previous years, but that did not stop all of us from getting involved in our communities and spreading love during this holiday season. I personally was able to participate in several events, from creating activity kits for children in hospitals to painting canvases for refugees, veterans, and low-income families. These events provided great ways of connecting with the people on my team and with the people in our communities.

While the year 2020 has been difficult and unexpected, I am so unbelievably thankful to have spent the better part of it with my Hasbro family. This place has brought me so much joy in the midst of a dark year, and it has even given me the opportunity to contribute to the joy of others around the world as well. Every person that I have met here has been so welcoming to me and so passionate about their work. These are great people to work alongside, and I have learned so much and gained so much just by being here.

If you are a future intern or co-op reading this, my advice is to be ready and willing to take on any new challenge that comes your way. Whether it is a new project, a new work setting, or something else entirely – chase after those challenges with enthusiasm and learn to adjust and adapt when necessary. Challenging times provide moments that can shape us and can help us grow if we can recognize them. Take hold of those moments, even when it’s difficult, and they will cultivate your character.

(For extra thoughts from me, find my earlier blog post “Passion and Imagination” from Spring 2020!)

Rachel Dudley – Product Designer, Play-Doh

University of Cincinnati, DAAP

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