I have been doing lots of internship applications lately, and I’m so excited to have been selected for an internship at Scotrail through the Saltire Scholars scheme, an initiative by Entrepreneurial Scotland.
This scheme asked me to write a bio, which I thought I’d share here too!
What is the degree subject you are studying at university and why did you apply to this?
I am studying for a Masters of European Design. Initially, I applied to study for a Bachelors of Product Design at Glasgow School of Art, which I did for two years, before being accepted to study on this masters program. The programme comprises of 5 years of study, two years of product design at Glasgow School of Art, followed by two one year exchange placements at other top European design schools, and a final year at Glasgow School of Art. For my first exchange placement I was admitted to Konstfack University of Arts, Craft & Design in Stockholm and for my second placement I studied at the French national school of Industrial Design, ENSCI Les Ateliers, in Paris. I was first inspired to study product design whilst working on a project in Thailand, providing a remote village with a clean water source. This was a joint venture with ‘Lifesaver systems’, who had developed a water filtration system. I was overwhelmed by this product’s positive impact on the lives of real people, and I wanted to learn to use my creative talents to create products, systems and services that could have this kind of positive impact. I decided to embark on the international Masters European of Design course because I love exploring the world around me and relish a challenge! I wanted to challenge myself to explore other methods and ways of design thinking, to experience a varied and complex range of cultures and to develop an awareness and sensitivity to acute cultural differences and complex social challenges.
What do you enjoy most about university?
That I don’t go to one! I enjoy making things, photography and sketching, which are things I have been able to do almost every day at the design institutions I have attended. In my design practice I take an experimental and playful human centred approach to designing a user’s experience of interacting with products and services. I really enjoy this since it allows me to spend a lot of time researching with real people, which means meeting real people and working with them to learn about their needs. I enjoy facilitating research and co-design workshops, meeting experts and working with clients to create something that works better than they could’ve imagined. In short, the creative process, making prototypes and getting feedback from users. I am also a real book worm and I enjoy devouring design theory books in my free time almost as much doing projects! My favorite read of this year so far that has offered me lots of inspiration for my projects and approach has been Alice Rawshorn’s Design as an Attitude, a fantastic resource about young designers that are changing the world outwith their commercial projects.
What are your career aspirations?
Coming from a rural community I have been inspired by how international outlooks can bring business from all over the world to small communities, as with Scottish enterprises working in the textiles and alcohol industries. I would like to play a part in contributing to Scotland’s economic success by bringing my unique international perspective, innovative mindset, adaptable skills, talents and fresh ways of thinking back to businesses at home. My ambition is to lead an international business from Scotland.
What sector/ industry are you particularly interested in and why?
Over the last few years I have chosen to undertake several projects in the sector of hygiene, healthcare and wellbeing, but I am also interested in the Consumer Products and Food & Drink sectors. In my practice I am interested in challenging moral and social issues, as well as addressing the ethics and sustainability of products, services and experiences.
Beyond university, do you have any other skills that you feel are transferable to a professional environment?
I volunteered as Search and Rescue personnel for HM Coastguard Service for three years. Through this role I gained a first responder qualification, as well as training in rope rescue, water rescue, and radio communications. I was required to stay calm under pressure and in emergency situations, make dynamic risk assessments in complex, changing environments and have excellent communication and team work skills. I am also a qualified Girlguiding UK leader, and have experience volunteering at a guide unit (with girls aged 12-16) in the North East of Scotland, as well as in Maryhill, Glasgow. For this qualification I had to demonstrate competence in organising and leading fun and educational activities for weekly meetings; planning camps, holidays and trips away; and associated administrative tasks such as budgeting, risk assessing and communicating with parents. I also had to prove competence in fulfilling a pastoral role, mentoring and promoting personal development. I am a member of Turriff Junior Agricultural Club, and have won competitions for baking, practical skills and notably competed in speechmaking at national level, which has equipped me with excellent public speaking skills. I am also a bit of a foodie and love using my creativity in the kitchen and baking, so I’m a good person to have around for bake sales and birthdays!
Briefly describe your most significant professional or personal challenge which you’ve overcome. What did you learn from this experience?
Moving to Paris and studying in French has been a huge challenge for me, both personally and professionally. I have learnt the importance of communication. I have never struggled to communicate effectively in English, so when I started studying in Paris I was shy to speak in French, as my language skills were incredibly limited and I didn’t have much confidence. The longer I have spent in the francophone environment, I have learnt that communication is more important than linguistic skills, and it doesn’t matter how I say things, it just matters that I speak!