Q: Could you start us off by introducing yourself?
A: My name is Jihye Woo, and I am currently pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications at San Jose State University. I have always had an interest in media communication, which led me to obtain a B.A. in Telecommunications and pursue a career as a TV producer in Korea. However, since technology is changing rapidly, I wanted to learn about new technology in order to understand the shifting climate and consumer behavior in media. So, I decided to receive an education at San Jose State University.
Q: What are your future career plans?
A: Right now, I am interested in something that is different from my previous career and major. This turning point came when I had the opportunity to create a UI/UX design project at San Jose State University, and I fell in love with the subject matter. Through one of my classes, I was able to present my project at a design conference and also received the Best Educational Innovation Award at the 2018 Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge. These experiences made me realize how much I want to study human-computer interactions. After graduating this year, I will start studying UX design in New York this fall.
Q: What were some challenges or barriers you faced while pursuing an education in the U.S.?
A: The language barrier is still difficult for me to overcome. This was especially true in the first semester. I wanted to share my story with others, but it was really hard to express my opinions in English. To remedy this, I took an English tutoring course and joined an online English study group. I am still learning, and I am focusing on improving my presentation and writing skills.
Q: Shifting focus a little bit, how did you first hear about Simple Steps?
A: I first learned about Simple Steps about a year ago through a Facebook post detailing a resume workshop. At that time, I had only been in the U.S. for about 5 months, and I felt that this workshop would be a great way for me to prepare for a career in the U.S.
Q: Could you talk about your engagement with Simple Steps? What are some of the projects that you have been involved with?
A: After my first encounter with Simple Steps, I wanted to volunteer with the organization because I agree with Simple Steps’ vision and mission. When I was working in Korea, I saw many senior women having difficulty with childcare. I personally wanted to help with this issue, especially since I will be a future mother.
At Simple Steps, I am a media volunteer. I am responsible for directing and producing promotional videos. I edited videos for the “We Grow Together”interview series and I created the promotional video for the artist exhibition.
Q: Are there any specific experiences with Simple Steps that you would like to share?
A: I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful women in the Bay Area through the Simple Steps community. Everyone I met inspired me, and I loved listening to each of their stories. These women all have the ability and skill to restart their careers but are lacking confidence because of an environmental change. Meeting and speaking with all of these women has been a great motivation for me as well.
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to say?
A: Sometimes I doubt myself or have concerns about my future because I want to restart my career in a different field. Before coming to the U.S. I thought that there was just one option for my career, but my future career plans completely changed after studying here. Every new experience here allowed me to discover new possibilities, and I learned that it is important to get out of my comfort zone. Each person deserves to be a main character in the world, and Simple Steps can provide a wonderful community for us to grow together by sharing our thoughts with each other.