My name is Mia Chang and I was born and raised in North Carolina for all of my life. As someone who wanted to stay near family, I chose to attend Duke University with no hesitation as it allowed me to pursue a top-notch education while also being a 20-minute drive away from my puppy. I am a senior pursuing a computer science and psychology interdepartmental major along with a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship. I chose an interdepartmental major in order to blend the technical skills acquired from a computer science major with the deeper understanding of what motivates consumer decisions through a psychology major and the certificate in order to gain concrete business knowledge and learn practical skills that could help enhance my future career.
As I am interested in how media and entertainment meets the consumer through technological innovations, my coursework within innovation and entrepreneurship has enhanced my understanding of the media/tech industry and improved my innovative thinking skills. Courses in innovation and entrepreneurship always encourage me to think outside the box and reassure that no idea is a bad idea, which I believe to be important mindsets that will follow me in my professional endeavors.
Currently, I am the president of Duke’s Design for America (DFA), which aims to foster students’ design thinking and social innovation skills to solve problems on campus or in the community. Through this role, I have organized project teams that consult local community partners on ways to utilize human-centered design thinking to solve problems in their workspace. With the knowledge I gained from attending DFA Leadership Studio in 2019, I have hosted design sprints to exercise design-thinking skills and to promote the mindset that there is no such thing as a bad idea to our teammates.
I have also applied my innovative thinking skills through an internship at NBCUniversal where I supported the Global Distribution team within the Film Technology Department dedicated to technological innovation for content distribution. I proactively interacted with the various teams within the department that piqued my interest and offered a member of the Technology Partnerships and Innovation team to help them with their research on AR startups. Through this research, I developed a stronger understanding of the technological innovations that were happening in the industry and was able to interview executives from these startups to learn more about their entrepreneurial experiences.
Outside of academics and work experience, I enjoy playing instruments, watching movies with my family, or playing video games with my friends. Thanks to my Korean-American upbringing, I have stayed closely connected with my South Korean heritage in the form of music, food, traditions, and more. I play an instrument called the gayageum, a traditional Korean stringed instrument originating from the 6th century, and have learned an assortment of Korean folk songs along with popular American songs that I taught myself in my leisure time. One thing people should know about me, but rarely seem to ask is that I am an optimist. At a fast-paced, academically rigorous institution like Duke, it is easy to lose sight of an optimistic mindset amidst the stressful environment, but I always make sure to positively motivate myself and the people around me. Although they may not ask, my close peers quickly notice how I help alleviate a lot of their burdens with positive thoughts and energy, so I hope that more people would know that about me so that I may be of help to anyone who may seek an optimistic perspective to their situation. I strive to have a positive, encouraging impact on the lives of every individual I encounter in order to build my overall impact on the world, step by step.