We caught up with Young Jang (Class of 2018) for our latest Alumni Spotlight. She told us a little about her current work at Samsung, leaving New York after graduation, and what post-graduate school life is really like.
Catch us up with where you are in life.
I'm in Sunnyvale, the south bay area of California. I'm currently working at Samsung in the digital health team as a full-time product designer. There are fewer events [than in New York] and it's less busy in general. For me, living in California has been all about finding work-life balance since graduation. From time to time I meet up with MFA Interaction Design alumni who are in different phases of their careers, which has been pleasant.
Tell us a little bit about your work and what you've been tasked with in your new role.
I'm on the digital health team, and we have designers, developers, researchers, and product managers who all work together. We mostly work with healthcare industry partners, such as hospitals and universities, to create products for patients, caregivers, and clinicians.
My work has been really broad. I've recently worked on patient-facing apps, one of which allows clinicians to receive discharged patients' daily activity online in real-time. Even though they are not [physically] together, the provider will get day-to-day, weekly, and monthly overviews of the patients' recovery.
I then moved to another product for epilepsy patients. The Samsung watch devices can detect falls, the implication being that the patient had a seizure. The watch can then contact caregivers or clinicians to provide first aid information. I got to create the user experience for that scenario with the Galaxy watch.
"In graduate school I aimed to stay focused on sharing constructive feedback and learning how to take criticism that was challenging and relevant. I think SVA MFA Interaction Design is an excellent place to practice this, and that the diversity of each class helps expose students to the real world."
With another product, I created a web dashboard to view data and measure user engagement to improve experiences. Working on this team was not just about how to design apps or screens, but instead learning and thinking about ways to leverage technology to improve healthcare access and support healthy living. I find working in the health domain to be challenging, since every design decision needs to be very deliberate and I have to learn new medical terms for almost every project. Nevertheless, it’s exciting and refreshing to know that a project will impact peoples’ lives positively in the long run.
How do you feel the MFA Interaction Design program prepared you for the real world?
The practical examples would be, collaboration and presentation.
The former is not just about teamwork, but rather about your perspective on collaboration. On a day-to-day basis at school, you ask for feedback from your classmates. This was a good introduction to collaboration in the real world. In graduate school I aimed to stay focused on sharing constructive feedback and learning how to take criticism that was challenging and relevant. I think SVA MFA Interaction Design is an excellent place to practice this, and that the diversity of each class helps expose students to the real world.
In school I made lots of mistakes as a part of the learning process on presentation. I became better at it, not just by doing it but also by watching others on how they approach it. At work, it can feel stressful to present any stages of design in front of people who may or may not care about what you did. But having many experiences at school prepared me to overcome the fear of presentation and to be more confident in a given situation.
In graduate school, you spend so much time preparing mini projects. Have you found time to create projects in your spare time?
Right now I'm happy to focus on what I do at work. But if I can find some spare time for small projects, I would try to tie that to my next step in my career and seeing what’s lacking in that industry. I’m just glad I had time to work on passion projects at some point in my life, which was at school.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get to work at 9AM. A typical day is all up to me. This is because my manager allows me to own the work, which I love. If I'm assigned to a project, I start making plans, share my time estimates with the team, and tell team members when I’d like to have a review session. I have to make sure everyone is on the same page as I move forward. So I try to balance my time with project milestones every day and save time for feedback.
What's next for you?
I love working on this team, as I’m learning a lot here. I'm going to stay on this team for a while. I have a lot of ownership. One small step I could take for my next project is to start sharing what I’ve learned. Maybe start a blog or mentor someone. I'm very interested in mentoring people. I'd like to spend more time sharing what I’ve learned.