Gabrielle Larkin is a 2021-2022 Fellow. She grew up in South Lyon, Michigan and graduated from Lawrence Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

My host company is WaitTime and they are a patented, real-time, and historical artificial intelligence software that uses techniques to monitor crowd behavior in large-scale venues. My role with WaitTime is on the design team, and I am responsible for creating internal and external designs for clients. A current project I have been working on involves redesigning the company website to be updated and more functional. A bonus is I get to work alongside two Challenge Detroit alumna—Elizabeth Grabowski and Carmen Gibes.

Part of the work I do is helping design the digital displays for guest facing wayfinding. One example is when Miami Heat’s venue went through a rebrand from American Airlines Arena to FTX Arena. It was fun to explore their new design elements and create something new.

Tell us about the challenge project you’re currently working on; what are you learning from the experience?

Currently, CD is working with the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance (MDBBA), and my team is tasked with understanding MDBBA’s members’ needs. From this experience, I have been learning about how there is power in numbers, and my team and I have been able to accomplish a lot within the Fridays that we meet. As the project is nearing its end, we have been able to create unique ideas stemming from our original prompt.

How do you hope to impact the community as a Fellow?

I hope to have a positive impact in the community no matter how big or small, and I want each deliverable from each project to help provide some progress for the end users and community.

What are you most looking forward to as a Fellow this year?

During our design thinking workshop, my team and I created our team name, “Quicksand” with the tagline “sinking in ideas.” We were very fond of the little illustration (shown here) we mocked up. Behind it is apart of our prototype for our workshop.

I am most looking forward to getting to know the individuals in my cohort better and the community to build strong relationships with them. As I build many relationships, I also look forward to building my professional growth through these bonds.

How do you believe your fellowship year will shape your career moving forward?

Coming from a design background, I find that the fellowship will play a huge role in my career growth in many aspects. Already, the fellowship has allowed me to shift lenses in design, and I have had the opportunity to explore user experience design. I am able to practice this daily at my host company and on Challenge days through ingraining user research and design into my daily work life, as well as growing with my peers through communication, collaboration, and connecting. All of these aspects are very valuable in shaping my career.

If someone is reading this and considering applying to be a Fellow, share why you would encourage them to apply?

There are so many reasons to apply. If you are someone who is passionate about making impacts within the community, Challenge is a great step. On top of creating a positive change you learn valuable skills that you can implement into everyday life, and you also get the opportunity to meet a number of people that have similar interests and passions as you.