I remember sitting in Andy Pratt’s Interactive Design class. He said something along the lines that half of you will most likely pursue a career in User Experience. At the time it didn’t seem 100% relevant to me. Three years later I’m an Associate Director of User Experience at Code & Theory. How things change or maybe not? All of my work has centered around connecting and helping people through design as problem solving tool. One of the reasons I applied to the MFA program was to use design as a tool to create impact and awareness and share this knowledge by way of teaching. I achieved this and more through my thesis “This Is Graphic Design” (an educational program that delivers understanding and awareness of graphic design to high school students) and through opportunities post SVA.
Since graduating from MFAD most of my projects involve complex systems and making them easy for people to interact with. One I recently worked on was for a major healthcare company to make a user friendly portal for medical professionals to obtain patient information and order tests. Another involved improving an internal customer service platform for agents to communicate better with their customers.
Aside from these projects I formed a committee to launch Google’s XX+UX Mentor program here in NYC. This September women will have the opportunity to receive a mentor in User Experience.
I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of my LGBTQ+ podcast, Naked & Inside Out. I wanted to create a platform to allow individuals to have a safe place to tell their stories and share them with other members of the LGBTQ+ who needed someone or something to relate to.
SVA’s MFAD program prepared me for all the endeavors I’ve pursued from a design and leadership perspective. The curriculum has diversity in its courses and professors while never losing focus on the entrepreneurial aspect of the program. The day could start sketching and discussing ideas then that evening to wireframing and playing with the code. The next day may take you into the woodshop working with unfamiliar materials and then the following creating a business plan and building an MVP. So maybe there was an entrepreneurial aspect in me all along keeping design and people at the center of it and SVA made it manifest. Feel free to reach out to me to chat further, collaborate or ask any questions.
– Janine Toro is a graduate of the SVA MFA Design program class of 2013.