Of all the benefits that UC has offered, Hatsue is most passionate about the opportunity for experiential learning that DAAP’s co-op program provides. “It’s very valuable,” says Hatsue, a first-generation college student whose mother is from Japan. “By offering multiple sources of learning, DAAP prepares students for professional life better than any other design school.”
Flexibility is one of co-op’s exceptional qualities, Hatsue says, as many DAAP students do not fit perfectly within DAAP’s majors. Although Hatsue is majoring in communication design, she is not pursuing a career in that field. “DAAP doesn’t force you to fit inside a box,” she says. “You can use the co-op program to enhance your skills in the field that you truly want to pursue. By profession I’m actually a photographer. But even though I’m not going to be a graphic designer, studying graphic design has really influenced my image-making.”
As an executive board member of the DAAP Ambassadors and former president of the DAAP Tribunal, Hatsue has advised younger students to embrace the possibilities DAAP offers and to take advantage of the school’s national network and connections.
Hatsue performed their first co-op with an architectural firm in New York. “That co-op was really beneficial to me because I realized I didn’t really want to do graphic design,” she says. “Co-op gives you experience and lets you know what you want to do, but also informs you about what you don’t want to do. It can prevent you from taking the wrong job after graduation.”
A subsequent co-op during the COVID-19 pandemic involved a personal photography project that resulted in some of Hatsue’s work being published. It also inspired them to create a personal website. Hatsue’s third co-op involved photographic and retouching work with a prestigious New York firm.