HBCU Internship Program Banner

In the Fall of 2021, Red Orange launched an HBCU Internship Program, formalizing a relationship with Virginia State University. The program consists of:

  • Guest teaching
  • Attending design class portfolio reviews
  • Facilitating a panel for design students
  • 1-2 interns from the design program each Fall

VSU Panel Stephanie ODellWe were fortunate enough to work with great professors like Stephanie O’Dell to facilitate a panel, pictured second from the left in group photo.

“Thank you again SO much for all your work getting the panel event together. Our students truly benefited from your advice and expertise. We look forward to collaborating more in the future!”

– Stephanie K. O’Dell Daugherity, MAE, Assistant Professor, VSU

Lauryn Fauntroy was our first talented VSU design student to join our team as an intern in the Fall of 2021. While we have had dozens of interns in our agency’s history, Lauryn was our first from an HBCU. She was also one of our most talented design interns, her work being selected as the final logo design for a local small business. Lauryn also designed our HBCU Internship logo!

Lauryn Fauntroy

“The new HBCU Internship program at Red Orange Studio has created an impact in my graphic design career. Working with these incredible women, having them give opportunities like this to young HBCU students, is truly an honor. I was able to work with real clients, learn the design process, build relationships, and left with some amazing portfolio pieces. I had a blast and I can’t wait to see this program grow!”

– Lauryn Fauntroy, ’22 VSU Graduate

Our next steps will be to formalize additional partnerships with the other HBCUs in Virginia. We will also be collaborating with our PIP Partners and other agency friends to create a program that matches students with opportunities at local agencies in a variety of fields – design, copywriting, marketing, research, videography, and web development.

Internship Application

HBCU Design and Marketing Students! If you are interested in being a part of our internship program, please request a link to our application.

Internship Application Request

Agency Partners

Agency friends! If you’re looking for great talent, and want to be matched with HBCU applicants, please reach out to Susie for more info!

Email Susie

A brief history of HBCUs

After the Civil War (1861-1865), HBCUs emerged to provide Black Americans access to a full education. Prior to that, the education of Black Americans was not allowed in most Southern states.

From the late 1800s to the late 1900s, legal segregation prevented Black Americans from attending college, so almost all Black college students enrolled at HBCUs. HBCUs provided undergraduate training for 75% of all Black Americans holding a doctorate degree; 75% of all Black officers in the armed forces; and 80% of all Black federal judges.

It wasn’t until 100 years after Virginia Union University was started, in 1965, that HBCUs were officially designated by the U.S. Department of Education. Today, there are 102 designated HBCUs across the country. They offer comprehensive and competitive graduate and undergraduate programs to all people with an emphasis on cultural and intellectual diversity. While their mission is still centered on the education of Black Americans, 24% of the students enrolled are non-black and many students are international.

Design and Marketing Programs at Virginia HBCUs

There are five HBCUs in Virginia, four of which have marketing, communications and design programs, according to their websites. This visual map helps outline the programs each offer in our industry.

Virginia HBCU Design & Marketing Programs

On a personal note…

Growing up in small-town Iowa, I was not aware of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). There are no HBCUs in Iowa, and very few in the Midwest. But when I moved to Richmond to go to VCU, I met fellow athletes who transferred from Virginia Union University (VUU), an HBCU started in 1865 for newly emancipated freedmen. Over the years, I’ve gained understanding of the history of HBCUs and the incredible talent found there. As an owner of a growing agency looking for new talent, I’ve found these universities are a great place to build relationships and recruit creative talent.