Undergraduate Kris Kritikos scores big during his internship with the Pittsburgh Penguins
It’s not often that one gets to combine their two passions into a single career path. But due to some great perseverance and a strong work ethic, IU Northwest art student—Kris Kritikos—accomplished just that.
Kritikos recently completed a digital design internship with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a National Hockey League (NHL) team. There, he worked heavily on social content, game statistics, and graphics that were used across social media.
From an early age, Kritikos was determined to get involved with the NHL. "When I was eight years old, I started playing hockey and fell in love with the game," he said. "I always knew that if I couldn’t play in the NHL, I wanted to work in the NHL."
Persistence was key in getting his internship. Kritikos’ supervisor at the Penguins, Darryl Hill, said that he applied multiple times to get the position. "We saw his resume and portfolio and thought it was really good," Hill said.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances within the hiring process, they couldn’t offer Kritikos the job the first time around. But that certainly didn’t stop Kritikos.
"Then he applied again, and we couldn’t deny him because he was so talented. He wasn’t afraid to keep coming back and expand on what he showed us previously," Hill said.
With a passion for hockey and a determination to achieve his goals, it’s no surprise that Kritikos has been so successful—and we haven’t even touched on his graphic design skills!
In addition to hockey, Kritikos was always interested in art. "I knew someday art would play a big role in my life," he said, "It was the perfect way to combine my love for art and sports by creating digital artwork."
People across the sports and entertainment space have taken notice of Kritikos’ talent. So far, his work has been shared by NHL hockey players Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. In one instance, he even noticed that longtime hockey fan Justin Bieber had reposted one of his graphics. Want to take a peek at his designs? Click here.
This success comes as no surprise to Sherry VerWey, Kritikos’ IU Northwest academic advisor.
"From the very beginning of our advising journey, Kris knew exactly what he wanted, and had the drive and determination to get it," VerWey added. "It was so fulfilling watching him make his own dreams come true with our guided support, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I’m excited to see what else lies ahead in his artistic endeavors."
Kritkos’ experience has been equally important to the Penguins. "He has had one of the most impactful internships at the Penguins under me," Hill said. "He’s brought forward some really cool ideas."
Kritikos grew in numerous ways during his internship, according to his supervisor, but Hill is quick to emphasize that Kritikos already had an immense amount of talent in graphic design. "Throughout his internship he continued to thrive, learning about industry relations and group dynamics."
Hill specifically mentioned that Kritikos, along with a group of other interns, did a presentation on implementing new technology into their workspace. "We’re going to see if we can find a way to integrate this into future uses. It’s pretty cool to have interns with fresh perspectives," Hill said.
In some cases, internships show students what they don’t want to do in their career. For Kritikos, it was the opposite. "I absolutely loved this internship," he said. “This has always been something I wanted to do, and now my next goal is to work for an NHL team full-time."
With his connections, passion, experience and perseverance, there is little doubt that Kritikos won’t realize his next goal. Kritikos is set to graduate from IU Northwest in May 2023.