Ryda Sundila is a May 2021 graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters. She currently works as a Product Designer at Ford Motor Co. She wrote this Graduate Voice article, which originally was published by MSU Today.
The experiences and education that I gained through the Experience Architecture program has allowed me to strive in my current role as a Product Designer with Ford Motor Co. At Ford, I am currently on the platform enablement team. We are responsible for providing tools and software to engineers within the enterprise.
The people within the Experience Architecture program at MSU were one of the greatest influences on the designer that I am today. The program has built an amazing community of like-minded creatives who are passionate about technology. Each day that I entered the classroom during my undergraduate education, I felt challenged by faculty and my peers to continuously grow and to become a better designer.
During my time at MSU, I also interned with the Digital Accessibility team. Having an extensive knowledge of accessibility through this experience has heavily influenced my design aesthetic and the way that I approach problem spaces today. My goal is to continuously build experiences that are accessible to people of all abilities.
Outside of the classroom, I was also a part of Design for America, a student-led organization that focuses on creating social change through the design process. Here I was able to combine my passion for volunteering and design to help improve the community. While in Design for America, I learned how to apply the design process to real-world problems. The most notable project was a collaboration with the YMCA, where we worked to help youth participants of the YMCA become future leaders. Design for America was a pivotal experience that allowed me to understand different design perspectives from my peers and design experts.
The experiences and education that I received from MSU have helped me grow into the designer that I am today. Something that one of my mentors at Ford once told me is that Ford hires the top talent in Michigan. During your time at MSU, I think it is important to not only diversify your experiences (extracurriculars, internships, etc.) but to stand out and set yourself apart from others by discovering what you are passionate about. And If you constantly push yourself to grow, you are sure to succeed as a designer.