Meet a Net Impact Fellow Introducing Her Community to Human-Centered Design
In this blog series we are profiling our Net Impact Fellows; from impact design to healthy food, our fellows in this year-long leadership development program are working to better their campuses and their communities. Jasmine Wang is an Impact Design Fellow working to introduce her campus community to human-centered design. To achieve this she hosted a day-long introduction to design thinking and helped prototype solutions to community partners.
Why did you first decide to take action around impact design?
I had been involved with social justice work for a few years - my skillset usually centered more around governance and empowerment versus grassroots organizing, but I was still very much in touch with the social systems that surrounded me. I am pursuing a multidisciplinary degree in arts, computer science, and business, and saw that design was a natural intersection of all three concentrations. The most important catalyst for my involvement with the fellowship is that I wanted to utilize my unique academic intersection to empower my peers to see themselves as active designers and engineers, as vocal creators of the world that surrounds each and every one of us at once.
What do you think is the most critical issue facing the world today?
This is a messy question to answer, and one I constantly struggle with, because all issues are intertwined with issues of race, power, and privilege. Ramifications of even the most global issues, such as anthropogenic climate change, disproportionately hurt and impact those with less social and economic privilege. AI, and job automation, is another example that will hurt those who are already working low-pay jobs more seriously. It is absolutely crucial to attract more smart people to work on intractable and serious problems; it’s even more important that we practice conscious empathy and love for our fellow human beings. The current question I’m asking myself is: how do we spread the benefits of exponential technology and lessen the wealth gap while mitigating the potential effects of such human empowerment on the environment?
If you could have dinner with any three people (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Margaret Atwood. She’s been my favourite writer for a long time, not just for her artistry (brilliant though it is) but because she leverages her platform for all sorts of social, political, and environmental advocacy. She’s also Canadian!
Martha Argerich. As a classically trained pianist, I can only hope that one day I’ll have her fire. She’s a brilliant pianist. Hopefully we can squeeze in a master class after dinner.
Leila Janah. She’s doing interesting work with Samasource that raises interesting questions for me about digital inclusion.
If you were given an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?
I would read! Books teach you practical tools, new conceptual frameworks, and aesthetic appreciation. The cheapest, broadest, and best education costs only a yearly library membership fee.
Learn more about the Net Impact Fellowships, our four cohorts - Impact Design, Criminal Justice, Healthy Food, and Racial Equity - and all of our amazing fellows here.