A podcast and video series — By students, For students.

Sahil Khoja
Nov 2, 2017 · 4 min read

What is Students Who Design?

Students Who Design is a podcast and video series that open-sources the knowledge of students who have entered into design through unique pathways, and hence, faced unique challenges. These students’ unconventional backgrounds, majors, and universities have shaped their perspective on design — and serve as an inspiration to those who want to break into the industry. The podcast will launch on Sunday, December 17th.

The podcast features students from a wide range of backgrounds: A former Ohio State gymnast who dropped out after his junior year and is now a full-time designer at Square. A previous fashion designer who transitioned into product design — and also happens to be a hardware engineer. A game-design student who does character animation for Facebook’s Social VR Team. A government major who worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. These are all Students Who Design.


Why did we do this?

Five semesters ago, several students at Cornell University decided to do something about the lack of product design education at their school. Introduction to Digital Product Design — a student-taught product design class — filled the void quite effectively and has now been running for five semesters. It has helped many students find their true passion regardless of their major or background. Over the years, this class has enabled a student who was a mechanical engineer and now is working her first job as a designer at a startup, and another student who took the class as a freshman and is now an incoming product design intern at Facebook. After talking to students outside of Cornell, we found that many students take extremely unique pathways into the design industry as well.

While the student-taught class at Cornell was certainly an inspiration, more importantly, we realized that students who don’t attend design schools or design education programs don’t have the same educational and career resources.

However, design is a medium for creating, testing, and solving complex human problems. The opportunity to practice this craft should not be limited.

There are an exorbitant amount of existing resources for designers, but few offer a comprehensive look at how today’s student starts their career in design, and are limited in relevance.

Students Who Design aimed to take a different path — serving to inspire and offer examples, but also show the breadth of ways today’s designers are beginning their careers.

I-88 — we created a lot of memories on this road.

We first interviewed students from Sarasota, Berkeley, and new grads who work in Menlo Park. We then took a road-trip across the Northeast to Ithaca, New York City, New Haven, the Greater Boston Area. Our mission was to expose the diverse methods students take to get to where they are today, despite their personal background, major, or university.


What does the podcast cover?

Since the podcast is hosted and created by students, we wanted to address students’ most significant questions and concerns. Especially, we wanted to make sure that the podcast contained actionable advise from every guest so every listener can have useful takeaways directly after each episode.

We ask all of our guests questions like:

  • How did you get into product design?
  • How did you get your first opportunity or internship when you seem to always need previous work experience?
  • What did you do to create your own product design education?
  • How did you go from your first design gig to a bigger company or agency?

and questions unique to each guest:

  • What’s it like designing the inside of a rocket?
  • What made you want to go to graduate school for design?
  • How did you way out the pros and cons of dropping out and going straight to industry?

What’s next?

We’ll be launching our first episode in December. In the meantime, head over to our publication for some resources to get you started right now. Every week, our guests will be posting additional resources leading up to December. Also, follow the publication in order to stay up to date when we launch in December.

Lastly — below is a promo video to get you excited for what’s to come:


Thanks for reading, and always remember — people, not pixels.

Check out more at our publication. Interested in sponsoring the show? 👉 Contact us.

HH Design

Thoughts from a community built around design within the context of technology.

Thanks to Omar Abdul-Rahim and Chen Ye

Sahil Khoja

Written by

Open for freelance design work. Cornell Alum. Cancer Survivor. Previously design at Instagram, Facebook, Intuit. Building studentswho.design.

HH Design

HH Design

Thoughts from a community built around design within the context of technology.

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