Global Business and Digital Arts student Victoria Vandenberg achieved 2nd place at the annual Communitech Code/Design to Win challenge held in Kitchener this past weekend.
Vandenberg and 5 other students from the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business were among the top 25 finalists selected from 258 designers that participated in the preliminary on-campus challenges.
For Vandenberg, this victory was especially meaningful. “Last year, I made the finals and ended up placing last out the 25 design students in the final challenge. Placing last ended up being great motivation to refine and improve my design process.” Vandenberg said.
Through mentorship and discussions with managers, professors, and peers, the 4th year GBDA student came to a few realizations. “Structure and empathy building seemed to be two of the main components I was missing. Because of the subjective and iterative nature of design, engaging in conversations with people in similar domains allows you to refine and improve your own problem-solving process. By taking these suggestions and choosing what worked best for me, I really progressed as a designer.”
This year’s challenge asked participants to design a solution that enabled refugees within the realms of finding work, building communities, or overall integration. Vandenberg's solution encompassed emotional and behavioural integration with respect to empowerment, emotional fulfilment, and communication.
Over the past year, Vandbenberg has read many books centered around design theory, behavioral science, and human history. “Reading has been my greatest tool as a designer because it equips you with context, thought development, and theories that support your understanding of people and why/how they interact with different environments.”
The Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business has a history of student success in the Design to Win finals, including Filip Jadczak's (GBDA alumnus, Lead UX Designer Focus 21) notable top prize winning in 2017.
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