Convocation Spotlight: Christy Lum

June 10, 2020
About Christy

I began my journey in SIAT back in 2013, and since then I was able to become involved in a variety of areas and received support from so many people who make up the SIAT community. I participated in FROSH and Week of Welcome as a first-year and made some of my closest friends from these events. I later became involved as a TechTeams mentor to support incoming first-years during their first few semesters as new SIAT students, while also volunteering to revamp SIAT’s Instagram page. Later on I became involved as an event photographer for various SIAT events, and volunteered for events like Touchpoint for many years.

In a co-op position, I worked as a web designer for SFU’S MBB department, as a Communications Coordinator for SFU Public Square, and a teaching assistant at an in-house maker lab at a local private school.

Coming out of all these experiences that have made up my undergrad, I became passionate about teaching and supporting technology and design education initiatives. This has led me to work for initiatives such as Science World’s Super Science Club which brings STEM education activities to children that belong to underprivileged communities.

Why did you choose SIAT for your studies?

I came from a science background in high school and had every intention of pursuing Kinesiology. However, due to a last-minute decision I decided to switch programs and got accepted into SIAT. The course offerings were what really sold me for the program, in addition to the projects that were being created by SIAT students. I couldn’t believe that there was an SFU program that taught students how to create such interesting projects!

What was your favourite course/instructor?

For me, one of the most impactful course I took was IAT 233 taught by Russell Taylor. I would often describe this course as a “rite of passage” for SIAT students. It definitely pushed me to become a more thoughtful, intentional designer in a short period of time. Because of the way the course was designed, I was able to build a lot of meaningful relationships with my peers and we all became really good friends after that.

I also want to make a special shoutout to my co-op advisor, Stephanie Greaves, who has been nothing but supportive throughout my co-op terms and years in SIAT.

What was the highlight of your undergraduate experience?

The highlight of my undergraduate career was the summer I participated in a Semester in Dialogue with CityStudio for the Outdoor Learning Project. This was a program where students, community, city staff and educators came together to imagine, design, and build spaces for community learning in Everett Crowley Park. During the 7-week program, we explored the meaning of outdoor learning and created temporary outdoor learning prototypes in the park.

What did you enjoy most about the SIAT community?

I first became involved in the SIAT community as a TechTeams mentor, where I helped facilitate weekly meet ups for first years to help ease the transition into university and the SIAT community. As I grew as a photographer, I was also asked to take photos of SIAT events and manage SIAT’s Instagram. I also volunteered for numerous events, namely Touchpoint starting in my second year. I started off as a general volunteer, then became involved as the photographer the following year. I took on the job of social media coordinator the year after that, until finally leading the conference as the co-coordinator.

All of these this would not have been possible without the support of all the SIAT staff and profs who gave me these opportunities. I was able to grow so much from each one, and it really shaped me into the person I am today. Compared to other departments and faculties, I feel that SIAT is very close-knit, where everyone knows one another and supports each other like a family.

Any advice for incoming students considering SIAT?

My best advice would be to not be afraid to fail and stay humble. Your peers are the ones who will be by your side to cheer you on and help you grow as you work through your projects, so it’s important to keep those relationships alive and well. Also, be open to talk about your boundaries when working on projects! Set aside time when you work together as a group, but also enough time to work through things alone. It’s important to work hard in school, but it’s equally important to go out and learn about the world around you.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your SIAT experience?

I just want to say a last big thank you to the SIAT advising team. Throughout my time in SIAT, they were always very friendly and genuinely interested in the work I was doing and what I was up to. They were always there whenever I needed to talk things through, when I was unsure or hesitant about something. SIAT is such an uplifting, supportive community and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.