Breadcrumbs

Thanks to Waikato, Youyou Gao is now where she's always wanted to be

22 November 2021

youyou-gao
Youyou Gao says her passion for design was brought to life at Waikato.

During high school in Hefei, China, Youyou Gao had a keen interest in designing digital products like websites and mobile apps. After moving to New Zealand in 2014 she wanted to continue her passion for design at the University of Waikato - a place she says she could reconnect with old friends and study papers that directly aligned with what she wanted to pursue.

At Waikato, Youyou found the ideas she had while she was at high school were brought to life. “The design degree at Waikato not only introduced a variety of tools and methods I could use to visualise my ideas, but the coding paper also helped me to have a deeper understanding of the feasibility of those ideas in a practical sense,” she says.

Youyou says the Bachelor of Design offered a good combination of design and coding, which she found helpful in starting her career in digital product design. “It was challenging at the start, but there were lots of demonstrators and tutors offering help outside of class time. Our learning was purely based on projects, so it included a variety of practical skills which were really useful.”

The University of Waikato was more than just a place to study for Youyou. There was always something to look forward to, such as meeting friends between or after classes, week night hang outs in the design department to take full advantage of the iMac facilities, and travelling to nearby cities together. As an added bonus, Youyou also found her English skills improved through her interactions with classmates and friends.

To complement her studies, Youyou worked part-time as a demonstrator for design papers, and during the semester break picked up shifts at local restaurants to further add to a rounded student experience.

Now, Youyou is living in Auckland as a user experience designer at Westpac where she designs software to help the bank’s customers manage their money better. “User experience was a relatively new career in New Zealand a couple years back, so I feel like this role is a great accomplishment to have so soon after finishing study,” she says.

Overall, Youyou believes it was a combination of passion and dedication to get to where she is today. “I went to lots of meet-ups with my peers while I studied to expand my network, and worked on several freelance projects to build up my portfolio, and with that under my belt I was able to break into this area that I have always wanted to be in. I’m loving it so far.”


Latest stories

Related stories

Leilani

Law alumna helps protect constitutional law

The University of Waikato alumnus and Supreme Court Justice of Samoa, Leilani Tuala-Warren, considers her…

Priya profile

Good and meaningful work

University of Waikato alumna, Dr Sripriya Somasekha, received a Public Service Award acknowledging her work…

sir-william-lady-judi-gallagher

Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher announce further support for University of Waikato with new scholarship

Hamilton philanthropists Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher will fund eight new scholarships a year…

International alumnus working to minimise cyber security threats

With cyber security threats on the rise, University of Waikato alumnus Eric Wang is working…

Warren

Law alumnus honours grandfather through new judge role

When University of Waikato law alumnus Aidan Warren was five years old, he sat on…

Rachita in a lab

Master’s fast tracks research career for international alumna

Rachita Radhakrishna Pai’s path has always been focused on science – knowing as early as…

YouTube screen

Governance leaders offer advice for future-proofing boards

Five experienced leaders and Distinguished Alumnae from the University of Waikato have shared insights on…

Malcolm Johns

Chief Executive of Christchurch International Airport shares his Waikato journey

Malcolm Johns, Chief Executive of Christchurch International Airport, graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies…

Waikato Management School

Waikato Management School Ranked #1 in New Zealand

The University of Waikato Management School has been ranked number one in New Zealand for…

catherine-downes

Research and hard work pays off for engineering alumna

Engineering alumna Catherine Downes has never left anything to chance.

students-at-table

Scholarship appeal aims to help fast-track students to their future

The University of Waikato’s annual appeal for scholarships is set to help propel students into…

leo-oliver-appeal

Scholarship fast-tracks Leo helping people at risk of cyber attacks

Thanks to scholarship support, current Master of Cyber Security student Leo Oliver-Dowling is well on…