Faces of UMSI: Trisha Gupta
The opportunity to do hands-on work has always been a priority for social media maven Trisha Gupta (MSI ’21). She said the unparalleled chances to work with real clients and apply learned UX design skills at UMSI is a huge part of what originally drew her across the Great Lakes from Toronto, Ontario to the Ann Arbor campus — and the school’s practical coursework and internship opportunities have exceeded her expectations.
Trisha, who graduated from Toronto’s Ryerson University in 2015 with a degree in finance, said that as part of the generation that grew up with social media she’s always had a keen interest in it.
“I think my undergrad is where I cultivated technology and finance exposure,” Trisha said, “but right after I graduated I realized as much as I liked taking finance courses, I didn't like it in the practical setting, which is why I veered over into the more tech-related space.”
In that tech space, Trisha found a role working for Canada’s federal government in their data management and archive section. “That was a lot to do with library science,” she said. “That's where I got my real exposure to information technology systems and IT-related software and work.
“That was a really good experience, but I realized that I needed to get more sophisticated handling on IT skills and programming,” Trisha said. “I was also dabbling with the more user experience-related side of things. … And again, I always had a passion for social media and that wasn't there, so I wanted to learn about all of these things.”
After a few years in the field, Trisha’s realization that she needed new skills in order to thrive in the tech space led her to begin her grad school search. It wasn’t long before she landed on UMSI.
“I was looking at iSchools a lot,” Trisha said. “I did look at a few in Canada. I know the University of Toronto has a very reputable iSchool, but being in Canada for as long as I have, I wanted to do something abroad.”
From the start, Trisha said she had her “eyes all set on Michigan.”
“I think UMSI is a great school, and it really opened my eyes to a whole new world,” she said.
But making an international move will leave any incoming student with some apprehension, and Trisha, while “very comfortable” in the US after a number of visits, was no different.
“Being here, I had to sort of cope with the challenges of being international, and there's definitely a lot of layers to it,” she said.
That inspired her to design an app for fellow international students as a final design project for one of her first semester courses, SI 582: Introduction to Interaction Design.
“The idea behind the app was for it to be used as a ‘meet up’ app for the international student population at U-M,” Trisha said. “I had envisioned a wide array of resources, everything from an international students Meetup to a Facebook Marketplace. Within the app is a place for a voice translation service, which helps students who are in need of translation services.”
While the app isn’t live yet, Trisha said she’s considering taking the project further after graduation this spring.
“I remember speaking to a lot of international student advisors and they thought that was a great idea, especially given how many resources international students do need,” she said. “It's not easy to integrate into a new country, let alone having new cultural norms.”
Aside from that potential project, Trisha is already looking toward post-graduation with confidence, knowing that she has a full-time job with Procter & Gamble — whom she interned with in the summer of 2020 — in her pocket.
“[At Procter & Gamble] I want to work more with data analytics and social media and how we can merge these two components to pitch products to consumers, specifically in the consumer products and goods industry,” she said. “So I'll be returning there after graduation on the data analytics team to promote products that meet P&G’s global consumer’s needs.”
Trisha credits her degree program with equipping her with the skills necessary to thrive in her internship and pass those milestones that helped her land her new role.
“In my capstone project, one of the things we designed was a shopping experience using VR goggles. It really got me thinking about making it easier for consumers to shop using design, but more with a human-centric approach,” Trisha said.
“I went into this degree with the mindset that I wanted to really use social media, because that was my hobby and passion, but also have sophisticated technical skills and leverage that into my next career, so that's what I got from the MSI,” she said.
“Whether it was developing an app for international students or designing a shopping experience app for everyday users, I was able to have that diverse experience.”