Rikka Ly

Bachelor of Design/Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) student Rikka Ly’s Summer Research Project flexed her passion for project design and helped her prepare for the industry.

Why Design and Computer Science?

“My Dad graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Auckland and has always been passionate about emerging tech and women in STEM. He encouraged me to learn computer skills. I even remember claiming in primary school that I ‘wanted to be a computer scientist’ when I grew up. So it was a combination of support from my parents, a love of computers, and being good at art.”

What area of your study interests you most?

I’ve taken up a lot of opportunities around machine learning and AI, but through my years here, I’ve found my real passion is project design. I enjoy managing both my work and others, taking on documentation and planning, and seeing something to fruition. This passion for leadership and an interest in technology have shaped many of my projects.

Rikka Ly

What do you enjoy most about your degree?

“I really enjoy the communities I’ve found in both Design and Computer Science. In Design, the classes are relatively small, so you collaborate with people multiple times throughout the degree. We also have our own space where most of us hang out. In Computer Science, at first, I mostly stuck to people I knew from before university. However, by the end, I had many friends I enjoyed seeing around.”

Where to next?

“I’d love to find a degree-relevant job, ideally remote or freelance, so that I can travel.”

Rikka Ly collaborates with her Design classmates
Rikka Ly

Tell us about your Summer Research Scholarship

“I developed an interactive sandbox program that showed agricultural processes such as plant growth, organisms, and beneficial relationships – like a digital terrarium or ecosystem.

“The project involved a lot of self-management, learning about scientific systems, and trial and error. Over the summer, I’d come to the University to work on the project, which included reading plant biology books, planning, modifying my documentation, coding, and playtesting. My supervisor, Simon Ingram from Elam School of Fine Arts, was great to work with.”

What were the highlights?

“This project was a fantastic start to my year. It was a highlight whenever I could talk about my work or show it to someone I knew.

“The skills and self-discipline I gained throughout this experience will be a boost when I join the industry. Being able to manage myself under the guidance of a brief and a supervisor, while also pushing forward with my own short-term and long-term goals, was invaluable. I also gained experience in p5js, HTML, CSS, programs with artistic vision, and scientific research. With this project under my belt, I feel more ready to graduate than I did before.”

Rikka was awarded two First in Course awards for Design. For DES240 ‘Designing with Data’, she received the Kaiārahi Award for her work mentoring students. As a result, she gets lots of Discord messages from her design peers asking for coding help!

Rikka has since been offered a Teaching Assistant role for DES240 ‘Designing for Data’.