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Emily Kim

New York, NY, United States

Member since September 08, 2008

  • Listen to This



    A. Identify 2 possible issue/problem areas for your thesis project that you have passion for 1. Poverty in Africa 2. Domestic Violence Therapy

    B.What’s the context/understanding you have about the issue/problem 1. Poverty in Africa is an on going issue that is looked at by many organizations but lack the funding and awareness for the amount of help needed. Despite what people think, poverty is getting worse in these areas. Little or no rain kill the crops that provide food for these communities, the spread of disease such as malaria, HIV, AIDS, etc is growing because of the lack of medicine, money, and the awareness to prevent these devastating deaths. Starvation and mal nutrition also plays a great role in killing many of those who are still living in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty refers to those with no means of survival. Those who live in these situations rarely rise above to standardized living situations. It is unacceptable that there are still people dying from sickness that can be cured. 2. Domestic Violence is everywhere. When abuse enters a household, everyone around the violence is affected by the outcome. Although there are various organizations to help those in these situations, many families, women especially are too afraid to escape the household and look for help. Although it is impossible to get victims to speak out, we can help those who have spoken and asked for help. Many organizations use therapy to help those involved recover from these incidents. Mothers, children, close family, need the support and help to reconnect and have hope.

    C. Identify initial ideas or existing products for addressing this problem by product design 1. To address the problem of poverty in Africa, one specific product, the Life Straw has been designed. Through this product, many people have learned of the various problems regarding the situations surrounding Africa. The Life Straw helps the people of Africa get fresh water on the spot. This product filters the dirty water through two-stage particle filtration and turns the filthy water into clean, drinkable water. 2. Domestic Violence Therapy does not have a specific product that has been designed. But I believe that a product can be designed to help families who have experienced domestic violence reconnect and communicate with each other, especially for families with children under 13.

    D. What’s the premise/reasoning that makes your solution ideas a viable response to the problem? 1. Now that the cleaning of water has been designed to address the filtering of water in countries with extreme poverty, there are other problems such as housing, education, health care, food source are other vital problems that need to be addressed. Through more research and study, finding one specific problem and focusing on developing a new design will help out the communities who need our help not only in Africa but also in other countries. 2. Because domestic violence therapy does not have a specifically designed product for therapy with families creating a product that helps families communicate more comfortably and quickly is ideal for healing and beginning a new life. Many times children and teens do not speak of their pain and troubles that are the outcome of violence, but creating a product will help future problems of suicide, depression, and future motor skills.

    E. Identify who is most affected by your issues. How they will benefit from your thesis idea? 1. Designing a product to help out in any means for families in poverty will help them climb out of the ongoing cycle of disastrous living. 2. Families in therapy for domestic violence will benefit through a therapy product design because it may help those who cannot speak how they feel express themselves through movement and interaction with a product. Interacting with a product as a group can help the therapist understand how a certain family operates when traumatized. Sometimes words cannot express what is going on in the inside, but actions can.

    F. Who do you want to interview or collaborate with from those who are affected by the issue your project addresses (NFP, community members, individuals)? 1. There are many people I would love to communicate with regarding poverty in Africa. Vestergaard Frandsen, the company who developed life straw would be vital to understand their process and what they have learned through designing this product. A specific website, work with various organizations and hold campaigns, they would be helpful to fully understand the state of the problem. Currently I am taking a class on poverty, and my teacher have studied the subject matter and know many people who can be of help in developing a project. 2. Constant communication with The Women’s Center and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence would be great in understanding the state of the victims, the way they act, react, communicate, answer questions. There are Women’s Centers in New York, and there I could do research regarding what is needed for these people to heal and continue with their lives. If this project continues, I would love to communicate with people who have moved past this issue and have developed new lives. How this event has shaped them into the people they are today and how they have coped with their problem, and if there are any improvements that can be made to the process.

    G. What’s your next step? My next step is to understand completely what it is like to live in these situations. It is extremely important to understand what is needed and what is happening and what has happened. To design something that will benefit the many people, research is important, walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

  • Nice job here Emily.

    I wonder if there are ways to look at any potential local intersections of your Africa poverty analysis? I.e. local diasporic communities in NYC area, local connections to the issue, poverty levels in NYC...



  • I just changed my thesis topic after realizing that I did not feel that passionately about my initital idea. I am also thinking about domestic violence... But more specifically, at South Asian women in the United States who are victims of domestic violence. This interests me because they bring with them a whole set of different cultural and religious values and beliefs, and trying to deal with them in a foreign country without any relatives can be extremely hard. These women are not only abused by their husbands, but often by their in-laws who sometimes live in the same household. In extreme situations, they are confined to their homes and not allowed to speak with anyone. They are sometimes made to clean and cook, basically taking the role of a servant. Also, there are cases in which they are sexually abused by their husband's family members. Although this is commonly found in India, it is a whole other story when they are in the United States as they are in unfamiliar surroundings, often not knowing the language. They are unaware of their rights as well. These women do not always contact organizations that can help them for a variety of reasons; fear, language barrier, cultural differences... Some organizations that cater specifically to South Asian women did spring up, and I am hoping to work with them. Similar to you, I would like to use therapy to help these women in their recovery process. Unlike you however, I would like to use a form of art therapy, in which the women are actually involved in the production process. What kind of therapy are you thinking about? I really like your idea to create a product to encourage interaction between family members who are suffering in order to make things better. Maybe we can share ideas and talk about the similar yet different paths we're taking about the same topic... I haven't actually posted my changed topic on the blog, but I am putting my stuff together so that I can do that... Let me know what you think.

  • In response to Domestic Violence, posted by Leah Waldman,
    in the thread Listen to This

    I'm glad to hear that you switched to a topic that you feel passionately about. There were lots of things within this category that was interesting like all the different types of abuse, sexual, emotional, physical, mental. I was thinking about types of art therapy and how its used. I'm still researching different types of therapy that are being used. Initially my study was on the communication between the families in their process of healing, but perhaps there is more that you and I could explore to see all the different possibilities that are offered to these women and their children. It's also important to keep in mind that its not only women who are abused but sometimes the husbands too. I'm still a little conflicted because I am still really interested in police suicide, perhaps even military personnel suicide. I guess only research will show me the right way. I'd love to share my train of thought with you if you want and look forward to hear what you think about the topic.

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My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design