Web platform that supports career exploration for underrepresented minorities.


The journey of a hackathon idea that blossomed into a startup.


Lead Designer


June 2020 - Present


User Research, Ideation, Prototyping, Product Management, Figma

Diversity & Inclusion in Tech

Why don't we see more underrepresented minorities in the tech industry? While universities are constantly striving for diverse student bodies in STEM, why can't graduated minorities break into tech? These were questions that our team asked each other, and we struggled to answer these questions.

To address this problem, we decided to target the beginning of our career journeys: high school. I felt that while my high school was a great place for me to hone my foundational academic skills, my school contributed very little in my career discovery journey. I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be for underrepresented minorities and low-income students to navigate the daunting task of discovering your career passion.

We hypothesize that underrepresented minorities in high school may be unaware and/or discouraged from pursuing opportunities in tech because:

  1. They don't see anyone who looks like them in tech.
  2. They don't have adequate career resources from their school.

User Research

Reaching out to our high school teachers, counselors, and other local school districts, we sent out a survey for high school students to learn more about their career exploration experiences.

User Research

User research display from our pitch deck

After surveying 63 minorities in high schools across the country, we found that a majority of them are still unsure about what field they want to pursue in the future. Even more interesting was the free-response answers to the question "What has been the most challenging obstacle for you as a student to learn more about and get more involved in the tech industry?"

"How career choices aren’t cut dry relations to what you learned in high school."

"I wish I had more access to a consolidated source of information."

"Where to start."

We were able to narrow our focus to these 3 pain points:

  1. Students don't receive personalized career guidance from their high school counselors.
  2. Students are overwhelmed by a plethora of online resources.
  3. Students don’t understand how subjects and majors translate into careers.



To guide our brainstorming in the next phase of the project, we created a persona named Ruby, whose goals and challenges match those we surveyed during user research.


I facilitated a Crazy Eights exercise where each person sketches 8 frames that could be used as starting points for our medium-fidelity explorations.


Crazy Eights using InVision Freehand

After presenting our own sketches and voting on our favorite screens, we decided to further explore three main features:

  1. Resources

  2. Mentorship

  3. Community

Medium Fidelity

Using the chosen low fidelity screens from our brainstorming exercise, we discussed content requirements for each of the main features.


Step-by-step major exploration path

Major Exploration: We found that many students feel lost and overwhelmed with the limitless resources available to them online, that they don't even know where to start.

With Cumulus, students can learn about various fields with our "explorations". For each major exploration, we take students step-by-step in the learning process as shown in the screens above. Students can get a basic overview of the field, meet with an industry professional in the field, dive deeper in our recommended external resources, and finally reflect on their learning experience for future reference.


Dashboard: When I first envisioned the dashboard (Screen A), I wanted to keep it straightforward with 4 main buttons to toggle between explorations, connections, communities, and mentors. However, when I considered that community and networking was going to be an element of our platform, I realized that a public profile was necessary for the user. I decided to choose Screen C, where I integrated both the profile and the dashboard to keep track of their exploration progress.


Communities: We wanted to elevate the typical group community from platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook by highlighting posts from mentors and encouraging an inclusive forum for underrepresented minorities to network, ask questions, and form friendships.

I struggled with designing the Community page because I had to separate the community information from the actual forum and posts. With Screen A, I tried out a simplistic layout, with the details in the top section. However, I wanted to make the page less cluttered, so I split it into three subpages to split up the content in Screen B.

Unclouding the Solution

With the main features of our platform, we realized that one problem was left unsolved: students don't know where to start with their career search.

Utilizing information we gathered from research papers about how soft skills and personal interests correlate to future career paths, we created an aptitude quiz that users take when they first sign into Cumulus.

Final Prototype


Student dashboard with task management-style exploration display


Aptitude quiz results


Community page



Feel free to read more about our project and the project jam here. We were chosen as one of the finalists to present on Demo Day, and ended up placing third in the competition.

Pitch deck presented by Joyce, Natasha, and myself.

From Concept to Launch

We started our Cumulus journey with one awkward video call among 5 strangers who met online, to now, a strong, motivated founding team of our newly created startup.

Coming out of the project jam, we met with startup incubators to gain more constructive feedback about our product and to learn suggested next steps. So far, I've learned that there's so much more to launching a product than just the UX— we have to develop a strong customer base, create a business plan for monetization, and roll out a barebones MVP before we even start thinking about developing the product I had envisioned.

This was the first project in which I had led the design effort, and I look forward to eventually launching the product with my team.