When do you expect to graduate?
Which degree program in GT Digital Media are you enrolled in?
Where are you from?
What is your educational/professional background?
I graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Multiplatform Journalism in May 2015. As an undergrad, I had community, arts, and investigative reporting internships with The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, Washington City Paper, and American Journalism Review.
What activities are you involved with on campus? (project studios, collaborative projects, GRAs, clubs, etc)
I have worked on three projects (including my thesis project) with Janet Murray in the Experimental Television Lab and one with Brian Magerko in the ADAM Lab. Outside of class, I work in the Ivan Allen College Dean’s Office as a GRA doing content writing, editing, and strategy for the IAC website.
Describe your interests in the DM field?
I am particularly interested in the ways emerging technologies can be utilized to open up creative artistic practices such as music-making and video editing to non-expert users. As a musician, occasional mashup artist, and generally irreverent weirdo, I value my creative work as a means of expressing myself and connecting with others. What I find so fascinating about digital culture in 2016 is that there are an abundance of ways for people, no matter what identities or experiences they possess, to easily make interactive art, electronic music, funny videos, or pop culture GIFs in a web browser or app. Traditional website design may be maturing, but the notion that anyone with a mobile device or internet access can immediately start making nuanced, expressive things introduces new design challenges and opportunities for exploration.
What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?
During the spring 2016 semester, I led a project in the ADAM Lab called Sound Happening, an installation in which users play with colorful bouncy balls while listening to portable FM radios. The location coordinates of each ball are tracked by a webcam and mapped to various parameters of a synthesizer, allowing users to collaboratively make music as they interact in the space. Since the music is broadcast over an FM transmitter, each user is part of a “silent disco” and a magic circle of musical play. I worked on Sound Happening with fellow DM students Pedro Arevalo, Donghai Liu, and Josh Moore, and as the lead programmer and sound designer on the project I enjoyed learning about the wonderful rabbit hole of computer music that is Max/MSP/Jitter.
Why did you choose Digital Media at Georgia Tech?
I love writing and reporting, but I realized I wasn’t going to be happy working full-time as a journalist. As an undergrad, I had spent two years studying emerging technologies in University of Maryland’s “Design | Cultures + Creativity” honors program, and faculty members who led the program encouraged me to apply to Georgia Tech and continue studying digital media. It has turned out to be a great fit for my interests, and I’m glad to have the Atlanta sunshine and the Oxford comma in my life!
What are your ambitions after finishing the Digital Media program?
After I get my master’s degree I plan to pursue user experience design jobs at digital companies and agencies. While many UX designers push pixels for somewhat conventional e-commerce websites and apps, I’d love to work with a company that provides users with opportunities to express themselves creatively on the web, in apps, in VR/AR, and elsewhere. One dream job that comes to mind would be working for Google and doing UX design for projects like Chrome Music Lab, a browser-based collection of apps that beautifully communicate music-making concepts ranging from synthesis to music theory.
Why would you recommend the Digital Media program to others?
At its heart, Digital Media at Georgia Tech is a design thinking program. Folks may be exploring topics related to entertainment, social justice, education, and a plethora of other things, but all of this work is rooted in the concept of human-centered problem solving coupled with lots (and lots) of iterating and testing. The tools, topics, and industries may change over time, but this program helps students develop a vocabulary and set of skills that they can use, in the words of Herbert Simon, to “change existing situations into preferred ones.”