UW Blueprint
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UW Blueprint

Member Spotlight: Product Designer Amanda Du

UW Blueprint is a student-run club that provides top-tier tech for non-profit organizations. Founded at the University of Waterloo in 2016, we could not have provided strong partnerships with NPOs without the dedication, passion, and time of our members. Throughout this term, we’ll be spotlighting different members and teams that have left a tremendous impact on Blueprint as well as the projects they’ve worked on.

Tell us about yourself and your background with Blueprint!

I’m a fourth-year Global Business and Digital Arts (GBDA) student and I’ve been at Blueprint for three terms and counting! So far I’ve worked on the “The Pregnancy Centre” team as well as the “Sistering” team as a Product Designer. I am currently still working on the Sistering team but as a Product Design mentor!

I joined Blueprint because I honestly thought this organization aligned best with my personal goals and values. My ultimate goal in life is to use my skills to help others and better people’s lives; I thought the best way to accomplish this was to design human-centered interfaces so people can have seamless interactions with technology every day! But through Blueprint, I can do more than just add convenience into people’s lives, as my contributions directly support NPOs. Blueprint makes me feel proud of the work I’m doing; I’m extremely proud to be able to use my skills and give overlooked communities the technology they need. I honestly can’t imagine a better use of my time!

Could you tell us about your role with Blueprint?

As I mentioned previously, I am currently a Product Design mentor on the Sistering team! The Product Design mentor is fairly new, so the role is really what you make of it 😄.

In my case, as a Product Design mentor, my main priority is supporting my mentee and making sure they learn as much as they can about design. My tasks are usually to provide my mentee feedback, help them question their design rationales, and of course, be there for them! Not just for Blueprint-related problems, but also whenever they come across obstacles in their growth and development as a Product Designer. I also get to make critical decisions when it comes to the team’s design process. Thus, I work very closely with the Product Manager and make more high-level design decisions to ensure my mentee is on the right track and taking the right approach to solve our design challenge.

Since I am also still learning and want to sharpen my tools, I also have more hands-on responsibilities on top of my mentorship role. As a result, I regularly take part in the design work so tasks such as wireframing, competitive analysis, user testing, and creating high fidelity mockups are also on my plate!

What has Blueprint taught you, and how has it helped you grow as a designer?

Blueprint has taught me more than I could EVER imagine! Sometimes I think I’ve learned more from Blueprint than some of my internships! One of the best skills I’ve taken away from my time here at Blueprint would definitely be cross-functional collaboration.

Since the team is so diverse, I was able to learn how to work with developers, product managers, and clients. This really helped me grow as a designer since I was able to practice communicating my design rationales in ways that different groups of people are able to better understand. On top of constantly improving my collaboration and communication skills, the fact that I am always talking about my design decisions really helped with improving my critical thinking as I am always reflecting on what I want to communicate.

What is your favourite part of Blueprint?

My favourite thing about Blueprint would definitely be the people. I’ve gotten to meet so many new friends here! Not only do I get to spend a lot of time with my project team, but I also have the privilege of getting to know everyone on the design team as well. Seeing so many students from different professional backgrounds who share the same drive for social good and building new skills is so inspiring 🥰!

To make the organization feel more like a community, all teams host different socials from time to time. Saying I am excited to hang out with everyone would definitely be an understatement! Everyone is extremely friendly, they make every event welcoming, and it’s just something everyone wants to be a part of.

The best part is that everyone is SO willing to help you with literally anything. I’ve never felt more supported by a community. There have been so many incidents where I turned to my peers at Blueprint for miscellaneous help (e.g. subletting issues, job-related issues) and so many people reached out to help me — even people I’ve never met! I feel so truly blessed to have such a kind community to rely on.

Amanda with the Sistering Team at a board game cafe in 2021

Moving forward, what are your plans and goals for the future?

Moving forward in terms of Blueprint, I am fortunate enough to be the VP of Design (VPD) for the upcoming Spring term! I’m super excited to be able to contribute to the organization at a higher level and use more than just my design skills to aid NPOs. I wish to exercise the skills I’ve accumulated through being a design mentor and to share them with the entire design team. As VPD, I hope to further strengthen Blueprint’s design community and make sure it is one where all members feel supported and included.

In terms of my personal career path, I have been working on design internships and plan to graduate in 2023 (fingers crossed!). After that, I hope to find a full-time job in the Product Design field. From there on out, I wish to pursue a path of design leadership and one day lead a design team 💖.

Amanda and The Pregnancy Centre team taking a stroll in Waterloo Park in 2021
Icecream with The Pregnancy Centre team in 2021

What can we catch you doing outside of school/work?

Outside of school and work, you’ll definitely catch me either online shopping, playing switch games, or painting!

My love for fashion has really taken off since the pandemic hit, so I’ve been really into trying out new styles and getting more creative with how I dress. I’ve also been playing a ton of Hollow Knight and Animal Crossing lately — it’s a great way to destress after a productive day at work 🌟.

Amanda’s Animal Crossing island

Painting is an amazing way for me to let off some creative steam. In product design, creativity is only one aspect of the job, it’s accompanied by logic and critical thinking. Painting lets me be creative without such limitations!

Tell us about your favourite memory with Blueprint!

My favourite Blueprint memory is definitely during my time with the Pregnancy Centre, where my team and I stayed up to make a virtual jigsaw puzzle haha! Usually, after Blueprint work sessions, the team likes to let off some steam with a social. For a particular social, we decided to collaborate on a jigsaw puzzle and chat! But to our surprise, we finished much earlier than expected, so the team decided to take on a bigger challenge and complete a 1000 piece puzzle! We knew this was WAY out of scope for a 1 hour-ish social, but we still persisted…

Until 1 AM… BUT WE DID IT! 🧩 🎊

Amanda and the Pregnancy Centre team, working on a 1000-piece online puzzle in 2021.

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We’re a student-run organization at the University of Waterloo that aims to provide tech solutions for non-profit organizations. Check out our website: uwblueprint.org

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UW Blueprint

UW Blueprint

Tech for non-profits, built by UWaterloo students

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