Convocation Spotlight: Matthew Fong

June 10, 2020
About Matthew

I’ve been on a seven-year journey completing my degree and I believe I’ve done everything I set myself to do and more. I’ve develops interests in user (design) research, sociology, and a strong passion for print design.

I was involved in extracurricular activities like student government and SFU-led events which led to student advocacy, presenting at high schools, and supporting SIAT networking events. Such opportunities and interests supported me in getting co-op placements, working for SFU’s independent student newspaper, The Peak, as well as pursuing a minor in Print and Digital Publishing.

Why did you choose SIAT for your studies?

SIAT was recommended to me through a friend who believed would be a much better fit than the initial program I applied for. Applying to SIAT was a blind leap of faith I’m eternally thankful I took.

What was your favourite course/instructor?

IAT 431-Speculative Design with Paul Brokenshire was my most memorable class. Paul fostered a productive learning environment for the class showcase weekly projects surrounding topics like privacy, data, and security, climate change, and more. It was an opportunity to design outside of screens and devices while thinking critically of these topics and having fun with it. The class let me truly think outside the box and was mentally stimulating, leaving an impact on how I’ve approached design.

Honourable mentions include IAT 309 with Chantal Gibson, IAT 432 with Carman Neustaedter, and PUB 332 with Natalie Gagnon.

What was your best learning experience?

My best learning experience was being told I need to be more confident in my design decisions. This unintentionally led to a long journey of addressing unaddressed perfectionism that had negatively impacted my performance in extracurricular and academic work. While I still struggle with perfectionistic tendencies, I’ve learned coping mechanisms to better address situations. Being a creative, having to be confident with design decisions is essential as well as understanding that feedback isn’t always personal.

What did you enjoy most about the SIAT community?

I was heavily involved in student government from organizing frosh events, to serving a term as Secretary and then another as President for the Interactive Arts and Technology Student Union (IATSU). Through extracurricular I really got to connect with the greater SFU community including the SIAT office where I did my first of two co-op placements supporting SIAT with student recruitment.

Being part of the SIAT community has truly enriched my experience by meeting other SFU students and SFU employees who have helped me with career, life, and overall being a great support.

Any advice for incoming students considering SIAT?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage incoming students to stay connected with your peers online until you can meet in person. I always tell incoming students to never be afraid to say hello. Everyone is in the same situation as you: in a new environment looking for someone to connect with. Be the first to make that connection and the rest should be history.

When the time comes, attend SFU-led or student-led events to meet new people and be exposed to new experiences and perspectives; you’ll be able to learn more about yourself as you interact with fresh faces.

I also encourage that students research what they can do to optimize their time at SFU and how they can use this time to prepare themselves post-degree. As a starting point, students can connect with Advising, Co-op Office, Career Services, or IATSU to learn more about what’s available for them to understand their opportunities.