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The Greatest Gift: Los Angeles

Dear LA,

You were the first city that I’ve known, and the first city that stole my heart. I am not blind; I know that you have many problems, but nevertheless, you have created a home for me these past four years.

As someone from the Bay Area, I grew up in an environment where the highest respect would always be towards those in the STEM field, and I felt inadequate. I loved biology, but I didn’t love it enough to become a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford’s lab studying Pulmonary Hypertension…like my mom. I loved problem solving in math and physics, but I felt like something was missing for me to fully immerse myself into systems engineering…like my dad. What really excited me at the time was art and design.

Los Angeles, in some ways you are superficial, but you understand the value of aesthetics. As a designer (and photographer), you allowed me to feel okay about being passionate about my ideas, and relish in the beauty of everything that is well designed. Design may not single-handedly solve the political climate we are in, reverse global warming, nor create the next universal piece of technology, but it can impact these areas tremendously.

  • In politics, design can change “reality,” by presenting ideas in an alternative way (be it campaign posters, instruction guides and even election ballots).

  • In our everyday environment, design can guide people through successful wayfinding like Narita's Airport, or cause us to act differently with the combination of psychology.

  • In technology, good UI/UX design enables us to use any app efficiently, and, with exceptional design, enjoyably (can you imagine trying to find something you need on this interface? What a nightmare).

Design can challenge us to think of new perspectives, cause mental shifts in communities, influence our actions (good or bad) in any field, and it can make the world a little less dull. After four years here, I realized that design and the proper use of color, space, typography, and layout can be equally as impactful as research in the STEM field. #myunpopularopinion

I am moving back to the Bay, and I’m ecstatic to have been offered my dream job working on Packaging Development with Kendo Brands, with my goal emphasizing sustainable packaging. But Los Angeles, you have had a serious impact in my personal development, and I will miss you. Know that without you, I wouldn’t have fully accepted myself as a creative, and that is the greatest gift you’ve given me.

Thank you,


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