School of Information junior becomes Weebly’s first design intern

13179371_1286518564709957_935165872869181783_nSchool of Information junior Charles Shin is all about taking risks and acting on opportunities. The Chicago native has worked various odd summer jobs, from picking strawberries to laying drywall in houses.

It’s Shin’s eagerness to try new things that has made his experiences at the University so memorable and worthwhile.

“It’s all about seeing opportunities and acting on it,” Shin said.

Though he currently studies User Experience (UX) Design at the School of Information, Shin initially studied computer science, business and psychology. Though these majors differ greatly, Shin says he believes they all factor into his current studies.

Computer science gives you exposure to a technical background that helps immensely in a UX design role. With business, you interact with a lot of people and you have to understand your stakeholders as a UX designer. Psychology gives you an insight as to why individuals think and act the way they do, which helps you with surveys and user testing in UX design,” he said.

Shin has a strong passion for design-based innovation and entrepreneurship and has been a member of several organizations on campus including Shift, optiMize and Mpowered.

Additionally, through the help of Innovate Blue’s internship grant, Shin spent the past summer interning with Weebly as their sole design intern. However, Shin was initially hired by the company for their engineering internship program.

“They sent me this coding quiz to take shortly after I was recruited, and I realized that wasn’t the type of internship I was really interested in. So, I took a chance, e-mailed the recruiter and asked her if any design positions were available,” he said.

Four interviews and four months later, Shin was invited to join Weebly as their first design intern.

“It was like really cool because they never had a design intern before, so I was like carving out this position myself,” he said. “I think when it comes to finding companies where you want to work at, if the position isn’t there you can always ask and they can sometimes accommodate it. It’s really important to take the position that you want to do rather than taking one that’s available.

He also said the experience taught him more about building relationships and making connections.

“The most valuable lesson I learned working at Weebly was building relationships. There is a lot of emphasis on making connections especially during an internship, but it should be more than that. You should aim to cultivate those connections into relationships. Those have much more of an impact than just a connection, and they will be more willing to help you get to where you want to be.”

Aside from studying UX design, Shin is cofounder of growing startup called FIN, a web based startup that aims to help students receive 100% aid to attend college through scholarships and private loans.

“We do that by automating the FAFSA to make it a really easy process, and completing the gap between what you get and what you need with private loans and scholarships,” he said. “We require users to pay $5 to gain access to loan and scholarship information and we bridge the gap to help you get what you need.”

Overall, Shin the most satisfying part of his University experience has been discovering his passions and acting on them.

“It’s really satisfying to know that you are doing what you love and at the end of the day, without anybody else watching or anyone else knowing, it’s just what you want to do. I think that being aware of what you want to do in life is way more valuable than anything you could learn in a classroom,”

He said he’d encourage other innovators and entrepreneurs to be confident in themselves to overcome tough challenges.

“I think the hardest thing is you have start and know your end goal, but you don’t always know what to to do in the middle. Navigating through the whole process is the hardest part, you’re really going into the unknown. You have to be confident enough in yourself and your team to know that you’re going to get over every obstacle you face,” he said.

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