Kathryn Minor is a third-year Graphic Design major with a concentration in Interaction Design and minors in Computer Science and Game Design. She customized her degree to areas of study she found fascinating and wanted to pursue professionally after graduation. Her creativity landed her a co-op with leading video game brand PlayStation.
We had the opportunity to learn more about Kathryn’s unique combination of disciplines, her job at PlayStation, and some of her highlights at Northeastern.
Why did you choose to attend Northeastern?
I chose to attend Northeastern due to the impressive student organizations, amount of freedom there is to explore my passions, and co-op opportunities.
Northeastern has one of the most robust student organization systems I have ever seen.
To me, organizations like Generate and Scout provide a one-of-a-kind learning environment that mimics what it is like to be in the workforce. When I was a senior in high school, I was so awed by both organizations and knew I would apply if I got into Northeastern. In comparison to other schools, I think Northeastern allows for more major customization. When I was first deciding on my major, I didn’t know if I wanted to do graphic design, computer science, or game design. Thanks to Northeastern’s flexibility, I have been able to customize my degree so that I am taking classes I find most applicable to me while still graduating in 4 years. Also, Northeastern has such a cool co-op program. It is awesome that Northeastern prepares its students in this way and I think this is a practice that more colleges should consider.
Why did you choose to study Graphic Design with a concentration in Interaction Design, as well as a minor in Computer Science and Game Design?
When I was in high school, one of my favorite teachers told me she couldn’t wait to see me working in games one day. At that point, working on a real game professionally just seemed like something I could never do because I had so little confidence in myself. I thought at that point all I could do was pursue graphic design and try to figure things out. I loved design and I loved games but, despite my passion, I thought someone like me would never be able to work in games. I think my teacher saying that she could see me in games was what pushed me to take on a games minor, just to dip my toes in. Once I discovered that I loved it, I did as many game jams and game related activities as I could. My computer science minor came later. Computer science is something that has always interested me but my sophomore year I realized that I had room to pursue it. Again, I decided to try it because there weren’t really any downsides. I loved Fundamentals of Computer Science 1 and my interests have only grown from there.
My mentors at Northeastern have encouraged me to continue to do what I love. This support system has been crucial in pushing me to do my best.
Tell us about your role and responsibilities at Play Station!
PlayStation was such a fun experience. It really reinforced that I am doing something I love. I think co-op really helps students figure out if what they are doing is truly what they want to do. While I was at PlayStation, I received a lot of mentorship both in terms of my design skills but also my communication skills. Working remotely definitely taught me a lot about how to communicate professionally online as well as how to express my own thoughts effectively through text. While I was there, I also did so much work in Photoshop, I feel much more comfortable using it. What’s fun about the Adobe programs is you think you are finally proficient but then you find a whole other subset of things which you can utilize the programs for. I also learned about how to effectively create menus, icons, and other interfaces for games. Ultimately, I am much more confident in my design capabilities after this opportunity.
What advice would you give to students new to Northeastern or CAMD?
To me, the most important thing you can learn is that rejection is a necessary part of achieving your goals. A lot of people, myself included, have been so afraid of being rejected that it discourages you from even trying. It is something that can build resentment and a loss in confidence which prevents you from learning from the experience. I’ve been through so many rejections where I’ve felt so low and while that stinks, I have also had rejections where an opportunity has grown from it. I think the most important thing I’ve learned from a rejection was my typography wasn’t as good as I thought it was; it was actually something that I desperately needed to work on. I never would’ve had that wakeup call had I not applied to that opportunity, not gotten it, and asked them for areas in which I could improve. Rejection stinks, but it’s one of the main ways I have learned how to better myself and my work.
What have been a few highlights of your time at Northeastern? Any involvement in student organizations, etc.?
There have been many highlights over my time at Northeastern, I am so happy I decided to attend this University.
I think some of my favorite experiences have been with the student organizations I am in. Generate is my favorite student organization on campus, I cannot recommend it enough. It is such a wonderful learning opportunity where I was able to build my skills as a UI designer, make great friends, and explore who I personally want to be. I have also had the opportunity to join other wonderful clubs such as Scout, Tastemakers Music Magazine, and CASE (Consulting and Advisory Student Experience). One of my other favorite experiences was the opportunity to work on the card game First Circle with Kieran Sheldon and Beatrice Tolan as part of the Peak Experience Summit Award. I loved to collaborate with my team and make a game which felt “real.” I think a lot of things I make exist in a bubble, they don’t leave the classroom and have an impact on the real world. But this card game we made has real fans and people willing to support it. My work felt important, and I really tried my best on it. I am so happy that our hard work paid off and we were able to present our work at Boston FIG Virtual Indies Game Fest.