I am excited for this opportunity to share with you more about what I am up to. Below I have posted the statement of purpose that I submitted with my application to the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU.
Writing this piece was difficult and cathartic. It required that I take a long and hard look at the reasons why I am pursuing this goal, and do a good bit of soul searching to identify which questions I want to explore in this program. This process forced me to start to crystalize what I want to create through my involvement at ITP. At the end of it all, I was more excited and energized than ever to pursue this path.
Over the next two years I will work to bring into existence many of the possibilities that I discuss in this piece. I look forward to sharing my experiences while on this journey, both the successes and failures. Not to mention that I’m sure I’ll need guinea pigs from time to time. My only request in sharing this with you is that you feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas in return.
Statement of Purpose
“I’ve cultivated a passion for design and technology since I was teenager. My interest in design has inspired me to undertake numerous personal projects spanning industrial, graphic, web, and sound design, while my passion for technology has supplied valuable tools that have supported my projects and opened doors to new experiences. The increasingly pervasive role that technology plays in my life has given me a deeper understanding of the ways in which people engage with technology. As users of technology, we constantly shift between acting “through” it, as a tool, and acting “on” it, as an object of engagement itself.
I have become fascinated with the possibility of combining these passions in a new configuration: acting “through” design in order to act “on” technology. It is evident to me that the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University is the right place for me to explore this convergence of design and technology.
My interest in harnessing the power of design to enhance technology is not for technology’s own sake. It is driven by a belief that technology can have positive and negative consequences. Designers have an important role to play in shaping the evolution of technology by appropriately designing our interactions with, and through, technology.
On a personal level, I am inspired by the power of technology to enable connections between people, and to communicate meaning in engaging new ways. My iPhone has revolutionized the way I stay connected to people, content and places, and has also altered my expectations regarding their accessibility. The Nintendo Wii, by designing interactions that mimic the familiar gestures we use to do things in the physical world, enabled me to connect with friends who had no previous interest in video games.
The power of technology is ever more defined by its ability to connect people to other people, communities, and organizations. As a marketing communications professional I have realized that people have become empowered by technology to challenge the control once held by corporations over distribution of information. Traditional marketing communications now compete with the voices of millions of individuals, who on an aggregate level have a higher degree of credibility. At the same time, the connective power of technology has enabled the fragmentation of society into distinct communities that subscribe to different beliefs and value systems.
These are some of the realizations that have sparked my desire to experiment with design of technology-based interactions and experiences. My pursuit of this goal is driven by passion, curiosity, discipline, and integrity.
I designed a three-year plan and curriculum to channel my passion and curiosity in a disciplined manner. The first phase, currently in progress, is focused on building a theoretical foundation of knowledge through consumption and production of content that supports the development of an analytical design-perspective. The second phase concentrates on development of design production skills using a project-based approach that provides opportunities for learning through practice. The curriculum will then culminate with a focus on creativity driven by an integration of my analytical and production skills through continuous theoretical and hands-on engagement.
I have used similar strategies to achieve other important personal goals. When I moved to New York City in January of 1999, I created a similar plan to pursue DJing. After three years I was transformed from having no knowledge of how to spin records to moonlighting as a DJ with bi-weekly residences at popular parties in downtown lounges and clubs.
These pursuits have other important features in common: a genuine desire to share something of great personal value, and a focus on integrity. Sharing the joy and energy that music brought to my life was key to my success as a DJ. Acting with integrity also contributed to my accomplishments, though until recently I failed to notice that my actions did not support this same goal at a community level. I’ve realized that acting with integrity includes not only standing by my own promises. It also requires holding others accountable for their commitments. I failed to notice that I had too often sacrificed my authenticity and honesty because I was afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or not being liked.
This failure undermined my ability to grow as a leader and to contribute to the growth of other individuals within my personal and professional communities. Now, while I still place emphasis on getting along with others, I am also conscious that my integrity depends on direct and honest communications.
My interest in human growth and development is one of my main inspirations for applying to ITP. Beyond investigating how to improve interfaces with machines, I want to explore how technology can enhance the way human beings experience the world. How can technology create constructive new ways for people to communicate? How can we guide its continued expansion into our physical and social worlds so that it has a positive impact on the way we conceive and communicate our identity and individuality? How can it help to transform our consciousness so we depend less on a conditioned response and become more actively engaged?
I also want to explore how technology can be made accessible to a greater number of people. How can we create new and more natural and delightful ways for human beings to interact with computational devices? How can we enable communities of people who have special needs such as illiteracy or disability to interact with computational devices?
I know that the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU would provide me with unrivaled opportunities to investigate these areas of interest. I am attracted by the program’s focus on hands-on experimentation and the self-directed project-based framework on which it is built. I have limited experience writing code and building physical computing devices, but I have passion and desire to learn, which is evidenced by the assortment of cell phones and computers I’ve collected for hacking.
I have already started down the path of interaction design, and I would consider it an honor if I could integrate studies at ITP into my journey. In return I am eager to dedicate my passion, energy, commitment, and contagious optimism to ensure the continued success of this program.”