Fung Feature: Jazalyn Cruz, Health + Tech ’22 (Media Studies)
“I am grateful for this fellowship for acting as a close community during a huge transition in my life.”
Jazalyn Cyrene Cruz is a Fung Fellow in the Health + Tech track currently studying media studies and pursuing a certificate in Design Innovation (IP) at UC Berkeley. Here, she shares about her academic interests, her experience as a Fung Fellow, and her aspirations of becoming a designer.
Tell us about yourself!
“Hi, I’m Jazalyn Cruz and I am a third year student at UC Berkeley, studying media studies and design. I come from a tight-knit family of five who has taught me the importance of hardwork, to take advantage of all opportunities, and to prioritize self-care.
When I transferred to Cal last fall, I was so excited to begin my journey as a Fung Fellow during my first week of school and immediately found myself super passionate about taking part in design challenges and learning more about human-centered interaction. Being a part of the Health + Tech track has brought me plenty of opportunities to solve real-life problems with hardworking students who are just as passionate as I am. I am grateful for this fellowship for acting as a close community during a huge transition in my life.
What do you study and why did you choose it?
I originally chose media studies because I went into college wanting to do professional sports broadcasting, but eventually realized that wasn’t the career for me. I have always had an interest in graphic design and have always been a great communicator; therefore, the fellowship introduced me to taking my design seriously and looking into human-centered design. Luckily, I am able to study both design and communications at Cal and I feel that they go hand-in-hand in helping me pursue a career in UX design.
Can you tell us about your role on Fung Fellowship student leadership board?
The Fung Fellowship Board has been an awesome opportunity for me to grow as a leader and work closely with admirable individuals who are hard-working and driven. Since we all offer different skill sets and have diverse fields of study, it is eye opening to see our new plans execute during and outside of class. It is satisfying to see how we can contribute in the operations of fellowship from a student’s perspective and work closely with the directors to make our ideas happen.
How’s your experience been as a transfer student at UC Berkeley?
My time at Cal has been amazing. As a transfer student, it is inevitable to view the first few weeks of classes as a wake up call when meeting new people and hearing what opportunities this school has to offer. It has motivated me to bring out my best self and have an itch for learning about different possible career paths right away. Joining student organizations and taking classes that I genuinely enjoy has made the transition easy; since there are plenty of students with similar interests and seeking new friendships, too. I have already made incredible life-long friends over Zoom, Instagram, and in-person, who have all made my COVID-college experience memorable.
What are your professional goals?
I want to become a UX/UI designer and eventually make my way up to become a senior designer. I think there are areas at UC Berkeley that I have taken advantage of that will help me fulfill these goals; however, I would like to continue my education beyond Berkeley and focus my studies on human-centered design somewhere in the east coast.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite hobbies?
Most of my hobbies have to do with self-care activities. Since quarantine began, I have been able to practice these more and have incorporated most of them into my daily routine. These include cooking, running, drawing on my iPad, re-designing interfaces, going on picnics in different SF parks, listening to inspirational podcasts, and doing morning yoga. These have all helped me since they are activities that make me feel good about myself and serve as “brain food” in these stressful times.
Any advice for prospective Fung Fellows?
If you have interest in problem solving, creating digital designs, and/ or learning more about tech or public health, join! I think joining the fellowship has guided me in several directions as a new student at a large university. Not only does it allow you to communicate with students of similar interests, it pushes you to create a family or close-knit community (especially online).
I always look forward to the fellowship’s lectures and labs because of the dedicated instructors and hard-working students who all come together to create innovative solutions. Going in as a media studies major, I felt that I was inferior to other students with EECS or MCB backgrounds; however, the students in the fellowship are all seen on the same level and offer open arms when working together on big projects. If you are even slightly interested in the Fung Fellowship, I would say do it!”