Meet our new Design Intern, Olivia Goonatillake
We are delighted to introduce our newest recruit, Olivia Goonatillake, who joins the PDR team as a Design Intern. Olivia is originally from Australia but completed a Master's degree at the University of Edinburgh where she is currently based and is now undertaking a 6-month internship at PDR.
To better understand what this role entails and to get to know Olivia, we asked her a few questions.
What appealed to you about working at PDR? “When I was looking at PDR, I noticed that it had a particular design approach, which seamlessly combines aesthetics with various other design system approaches. What sets the PDR team apart is their ability to operate at the intersection of policy and design, which I found really interesting because I hadn't seen much of that in other organisations in the UK.”
Asking about what her day looks like at PDR, Olivia mentions, “My current 9 to 5 day is quite dynamic as I work closely with the Design Policy team, primarily supporting Anna Whicher and Piotr Swiatek. My mornings typically involve meetings, and I spend the rest of my time creating graphics for their presentations. In addition to this, I conduct literature reviews thorough background research and carry out various organisational and administrative tasks. I am also working on creating an onboarding package for future interns!”
Despite only being with us for a couple weeks, Olivia is already supporting the Design Policy team on some significant projects. “I have been involved in a city design action plan project with Anna, which she is presenting in Australia. I have also been assisting Piotr and Anna in a study of public sector innovation in Latvia by providing necessary inputs and helping them with specific aspects of the project.”
Olivia says more about the team and work culture: “Everyone's been very friendly, lots of people have been messaging me just to say hello and offer a helping hand. The team has been really kind and welcoming.”
We questioned Olivia about her ideal weekend and whether she had any hidden talents. “I would say my ideal weekend would involve going out into the Pentlands or the Cairngorms in Scotland with some friends and maybe doing some cold-water swimming. I also enjoy reading books with some coffee and making dinner with friends.”
As for talent… “I play the saxophone and I’m currently learning how to scuba dive. I enjoy participating in large-scale life drawings on the weekends as well.” Olivia's weekend and skills sound like the ideal balance of work and play!
The PDR team extends the warmest of welcomes to Olivia. We're thrilled to have her on board.