Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2022

Liberal Arts Embraces Tech ‘Soft skills are anything but soft’

- As an English major at Mercyhurst, Jennings found her passion for writing and interest in a wel l rounded and humanistic approach to her career through inspiration from her professors. She formed a close mentorship with English professor Dr. Ken Schi f , who passed away in 201 7. He encouraged her to explore storytelling through creative non f ction, a skill she still uses today. “ Writing for user interfaces is just like writing creative non fi ction.You createa n experience for someone by using the right words and phrases ; it af ects how people feel. In my career, I am using language to create realities. That is essentially the reason I got into writing, said Jennings. ”

“ [Moving from creative writing to content design] wasn’t that hard of a change, Jennings said. “For many people, so much of writing is about trying to get it right – they want to create worlds like Tolkien or change the world like GloriaS teinem , butthat was never why I was drawn to writing. Learning ” – ” how to master language gave me the opportunity to bring structure, logic, and reason into the world. ’ In the fall of 2021, Jennings began a new position as principal product design architect at Danish customer support software company Zendesk, working with major clients such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. For Jennings, the best and most challenging part of her job is having a tangible e f ect on people ' s lives. She urges business and l af ect our society, both on a group and individual level. I really want people in these sorts of jobs to have taken classes in history, civics, “ ” philosophy, and ethics, so they know how our decisions will always have outcomes for other people, Jennings said. People “ innovation leaders to constantly think about how our digital environment and the advancements we create wil

“ Hazel Jennings ’09 has been working in the tech industry for the past 10 years and is con f dent that one of the most important assets of the industry, and the world, is a strong foundation in the humanities. Building complex technology is hard, so there is a huge need for technical skills, she said. “However, we are also changing the course of humanity with the things we build, so we need people with humanities backgrounds in the room when these decisions are being made. ” ” Technology in our world has made incredible strides in the past decade. Video chats, virtual doctor visits, and immersive augmented and virtual reality programs all are now easily within reach for many. One can only imagine the advancements that will continue into the next decade.

After graduation, Jennings moved to Pittsburgh to begin her career in the city ' s startup scene. She moved to San Francisco in 2012 and began working as a product

’ writer for Hotwire. In 2013, Jennings became the founding member of Instagram ' s c ontent team. Throughouht er career withInstagram as director of content design, Jennings got to name the di f erent photo fi lters, work on developing the Boomerang app for Instagram, as well as introduce Instagram Stories.

who have studied the humanities and, therefore, have a background in pattern recognition, critical thinking, and rhetoric


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