Mona Cui

Mona Cui

Digital Producer, Journey Digital
Master of Design with Honours (First Class)

She enjoys being a creative problem-solver, says Mona Cui who came to AUT as an international student from Beijing in China to study a Master of Design.

“I’m a digital producer for Journey Digital, and my job involves working with the wider team to design, develop and deliver digital solutions, including mobile apps, web applications and custom websites. This includes managing the delivery process, scheduling project resources and motivating the production team.

“One thing I learned from my Master of Design degree is that the media we use are constantly changing and evolving. But if we use a strategic framework, the right methods and methodology for each challenge, and keep ideating, developing and implementing, we can find ideas and solutions to any problem. This is why being a designer fascinates me.”

Feeling inspired
After doing film studies for her undergraduate degree in China, Mona was curious about finding a better way to communicate emotions with the audience while telling a story.

“I felt perhaps traditional documentaries alone weren’t enough. This drove me to want to expand into a new area but still play to my strengths. What I liked about AUT’s Master of Design was that it supports research from a wide range of disciplines and specialties, including animation, filmmaking, game design and VR. I thought this was a great degree that would allow me to do interdisciplinary research.

“The highlight of my time at AUT was my last year when I was exploring my practice-led research and writing my thesis on how immersive and interactive media could nurture narratives about sexuality and identity. The COVID-19 pandemic happened and New Zealand entered into a lockdown. I moved all my materials, cameras, laptops and notes to my home, and while I felt a bit isolated at first, this also inspired my reflection and creativity.”

She still remembers feeling inspired by the work of other AUT art and design students.

“I went to the Matariki graduation exhibition held by the students one year above me, which was a huge inspiration. Their projects and research were well presented and articulated, creative and scholarly remarkable, as well as culturally and socially meaningful. I felt sincerely proud of their achievements. They motivated me, and showed me that our future is full of exciting possibilities.”

Advice for other students
Mona, who graduated from AUT in 2021, has some great advice for other students who are considering taking on postgraduate study.

“My advice for future postgraduate students is to choose a topic or research question that you’re really curious about and that you want to spend more than a year on to find out the answer and add your voice.

“It will be a much better experience if you have true passion, personal motivation, and determination. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!”

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