Fall semester 2015 was the busiest semester I’ve ever had at MIT. I had a heavier courseload than ever, 60 credit hours a week. The classes I was pushed me creatively in ways that I haven’t experienced before. I was overwhelmingly encompassed in group work, which could be stressful at times, but really forced me to hone my communication skills. All in all, though, I incredibly enjoyed this last fall. I worked to create a concept application, in a field I was completely unfamiliar with—tourism. I’m more of a USA road trip than an international excursion type of girl.

Working with iSoftStone as the sponsor for MIT’s CMS.634 Designing Interactions class, we delved into the market research of China’s tourism industry. I learned the challenges of designing for a demographic outside of my own, and it was incredibly difficult. The product that we came up with has a lot of potential, I think, and I wish that the class had more opportunity to realize that potential and build a working iOS prototype.

Tangible Interfaces was a class that really stretched my imagination. The concept of atoms as bits and bits as atoms, the ideas of mashing together the digital and the physical, having digital things respond in a physical way, these were all things that I understood in theory but had such a hard time designing for. The group that I was working with designed and implemented a pneumatic putting green. The prototype was challenging to implement, mainly because the pneumatic valves we were using were too small scale. In the end, we had an approximation of the original vision. Although that was slightly disappointing, I really enjoyed the exposure to all of these incredibly exciting new concepts, the boundaries of biological engineering with digital, chemical and mechanical engineering all blending together to create the products of the future.

I had my first opportunity to take a class through MIT’s D-Lab. I knew that at some point I’d have to return to my architecture roots to finish my course requirements, and I thoroughly enjoyed that foray. The design challenge was to create a plan for a school in Nepal, replacing structures that had been destroyed by the earthquakes in recent years. Understanding metrics is important in the design of any product, and data analysis was a large part of this class. We built a small scale prototype to test insulative properties over the course of two weeks. More on this project can be found in the portfolio section.

This semester, I’m taking Design Across Scales, Game Design for Education, a Global History of Architecture, and Advanced Fiction Workshop, all classes that I’m thrilled to be taking. I’m also becoming involved as a layout editor at the Essay Press. Digital design is my favorite pastime, and I’m excited to be putting my skills to use publishing digital chapbooks. The semester ahead looks wonderful.