Member Spotlight: VP Design Carmen Lee
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 Carmen and I’m in my third year of Systems Design Engineering! I’m currently a VP of Design (VPD) on UW Blueprint, but I’ve also been a Product Designer in past terms 😊
I joined Blueprint back in 2019 when I had just wrapped up my very first co-op. I had one academic term and one work term under my belt, and I was eagerly looking for a school community to join that aligned with my personal values. At the time, I didn’t really know what career path I wanted to pursue — all I knew was that I wanted to dedicate my time and skill towards a cause I believed in, and figuring out my career would hopefully come with that! From my search for a school organization to join, Blueprint’s mission and focus on community greatly resonated with me. I was already interested in working in tech, so applying was the perfect next-step to take!
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience when joining. The community I was welcomed into and the friends that I made in my first term was what encouraged me to return. Through Blueprint, I’ve been able to be a part of a meaningful organization that does so many amazing things!
Could you tell us about your role within Blueprint?
I am one of three VPs of Design (VPDs) on UW Blueprint. As VPDs, our role is to ensure that our 16 product designers feel supported and successful in their Blueprint work (and occasionally outside of that as well!). This is executed through two areas of focus: design team culture and community and internal operations.
To foster and maintain design team culture and community, we provide 1:1 support and mentorship to our designers, plan and execute internal and external design workshops, maintain years-old design team traditions, and host weekly design team meetings (which include critiques, discussions, and socials)!
Our internal operations involve driving design team recruitment for future terms, creating foundational documentation and frameworks for our designers, and working closely with the other executive team members to ensure our internal workflows are running smoothly both at a project level and at an organizational level ✨
What has Blueprint taught you, and how has it helped you grow as a designer?
The most important thing Blueprint has taught me is how to communicate and collaborate with others. As both a designer and VPD on Blueprint, many of our tasks involve a high level of collaboration, whether that’s through talking to clients or stakeholders on your team, running and facilitating meetings, or triaging problems that come up throughout the term, the list goes on! But at its core, communication is key to ensuring that goals are met and that everyone feels involved, heard, and valued. Through Blueprint, I’ve learned how to listen, give feedback, and adapt (and I’m still working on this!).
What’s your favourite part about Blueprint?
My absolute favourite thing about being a part of Blueprint is the people. I’m so grateful to have volunteered with students who not only share my passion for social good and community but who are also genuinely kind and caring. Many of these people have become my friends, even beyond Blueprint, and I’m lucky to have them in my life.
Moving forward, what are your plans and goals for the future?
Blueprint Design-wise, I want to continue strengthening and maintaining our culture and community as we start to transition into a post-pandemic world and as the club continues to grow! Personally, I’ll still be exploring the world of product design and tech, but my goal for the future is to design in the education technology space and work on ways to make education more accessible.
What can we catch you doing outside of school and work?
I love spending my free time watching movies or shows, going to the gym, playing music, or reading a book! I’m currently reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir 😊
Tell us about your favourite memory with Blueprint!
A fond memory I have with the team is actually from a term when I was not on Blueprint. It was in the summer of 2020, and I was working remotely from my home far far away from most of my friends. I was spontaneously invited to join a virtual social event that the Blueprint design team that term was having, and we ended up talking for hours and hours about life and other things. I was reminded of how lucky I was, to be connected to this group of people who were such a joy to be around!