Convocation Spotlight: Chantal Snazel

October 19, 2020
About Chantal

I started SIAT in Fall 2014, and throughout my time I was involved with the SFU Autistics United Club doing logo and graphic design, and I completed three terms of co-op with the Mothers Matter Centre in Vancouver as a designer. In this last year of my degree, I worked on Dhanak, a team graduation project that provides a story-telling platform for South-Asian Queer voices and experiences.

Outside of SIAT I enjoy sewing garments and other crafts, roller skating, and playing video games.

Why did you choose SIAT for your studies?

I chose the SIAT program because when I started, I had a variety of art and technology-related interests for my career. I wanted to do it all. The main benefit of being a SIAT student is getting exposed to a variety of design disciplines.

By exploring much of what SIAT had to offer, I was able to confidently focus my direction towards user experience design and evaluation, and web design and development.

What was your favourite course/instructor?

If I had to pick only one SIAT instructor, it would be Chantal Gibson. Aside from sharing names, I admire and am grateful for how much care, thought, and planning she puts into her curriculum. She pushes her students to improve their critical thinking and communication and gives them the right tools and a wealth of resources to do so. While it was challenging to grasp and in turn apply Chantal’s lessons within a single course, they are lessons I will use throughout my career moving forward.

What was your best learning experience?

My best learning experience was IAT 431 – Speculative Design. Will Odom provides great expertise, lectures and examples to learn from. He also gives quality feedback that encourages and motivates students to push their projects further. The course creates a sense of healthy competition, with every week having a feeling of excitement to see other student’s work. While the practical value of speculative design is different from traditional design work, this course taught me new approaches and strategies that I believe has made me a better designer.

What did you enjoy most about the SIAT community?

Most of my involvement with the SIAT community was spending time with my peers in the studio. It was always inspiring to see and learn about the different projects students were working on. The studios go beyond being a workspace and is a place to spend time with peers. We eat meals together, laugh, and find some support and relief during long project hours. The sense of community you find walking into a studio is something I will miss, as I am sure many others currently do while studying remotely during the pandemic.

Any advice for incoming students considering SIAT?

My advice would be both to explore and to specialize your skills and career interests. SIAT is great at equipping you with a swiss-army knife of knowledge and skills, and it is important to explore and understand each of the tools in it. However, when it comes to tailoring your career both within and beyond SIAT, you need to specialize in using your favourite tools in that knife. There is a very long list of things you can learn from a SIAT, but it is up to you to figure out what you like doing best and practice that both within and outside of course work.