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Here and Now: Sana Rao

Each week, Interaction Design’s Social Media Officer Cooper Smith will curate a story from the incoming first-year class. This week’s post comes from Sana Rao.Here and Now

When friends and relatives ask me what this program is about, this program that made one leave all the beauty and comforts of being in one’s own country to stay abroad for such an extended period of time, I am often at a loss to explain.

The weight of the phrase “Interaction Design,” strikes me as an obstacle.

Below I answer questions I have been asked by parents, friends, prospective students, and my bewildered twin sister about what interaction design and this program mean to me, and how all the previous decisions in my life have led me here, now, to the MFA Interaction Design Program at SVA.

First, a deep motivation for inquiry and an incessant need to understand the immense variety of human relationships drove me to writing, to reading, and to design.
I believe it is this need for inquiry that defines why most designers wake up every morning.

For me, interaction design examines human relationships, the media we use to communicate what is, but a thought, our reactions to our world, the one within us, and everything in between. It is an ever-expanding and always-flexible thread that binds all the conversations which we have with the world around us.

And now a brief glimpse at the toolkit this Program equips us with. The first and most accessible resource are the fellow students. Each is a uniquely talented individual with expertise in a variety of fields, spanning molecular biology, management information systems, and even economics, and it is fascinating to see the ideas that take shape out of the braiding of such backgrounds. In my brief time here, I have already begun to value and be continuously amazed by the diversity of ideas that come out of the permutations of our collaborations with each other.

In addition, each course in the first semester is designed to not just give us a succinct knowledge of basic interaction design tools, but also to give us a window to entire fields of design thinking, giving us the freedom to evaluate and choose a combination that best reflects our preferred way of working. In each of these courses, we are encouraged to work on issues that appeal to us individually and close to our hearts. What I find the most intriguing about our schedules however, is that in any given week, my mind is challenged to change modes from high-level systems thinking, to strategic business-oriented thinking, to a more detailed code thinking.

I am still discovering where I stand in the world of interaction design and constantly evolving my personal definition, and hope it remains evolving as I move ahead with the program and beyond.

Sana Rao

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