Designing to change people's lives

Architecture and Design student Sarah Mokhtar has found her lecturers and tutors very supportive, even when her ideas were a little out there.

Sarah Mokhtar completed a Bachelor of Architecture majoring in Interior Architecture, a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Design and a Master of Design Innovation after seven years of study.

Deciding to study with the best

“Back at high school, when I was looking at all the different universities in New Zealand, I found that Wellington was the best school for design and architecture and that’s where I wanted to specialise.

“So I thought, if I want to be the best, I have to study with the best.”

Ideas out of left field

Sarah had some unorthodox tendencies when she arrived at university, but found her lecturers supportive and encouraging.

“I had all sorts of strange design ideas, so when I started designing things in my first year, they were a little bit left field. The lecturers definitely make sure that their students are within the bounds, but also creating things that are quite different and ground breaking.”

Simulating schizophrenia

As part of her Master’s, Sarah, who has an older sister with schizophrenia, developed an app and wearable technology scarf that simulates what it’s like to hear voices.

“When I decided to do my Master’s I thought, what are the biggest challenges I’ve had in my life and how could I resolve them with design? So that’s why I landed on this idea, from wanting to help family members of people with schizophrenia understand what it’s like.”

Reaching the finish line

Sarah says completing her Master’s has been “life changing”.

“Victoria University of Wellington has really helped me to nurture my personal project and has extended me. The University definitely helped me to produce the final outcome that I wanted.”

Changing lives through design

Sarah says the advantage of having pursued a range of different paths within the Faculty of Architecture and Design is the options it gives her for the future.

“The type of design that I want to do in the end is design that helps change other people’s lives.”

Know Your Mind

“As a designer, it’s about knowing my mind and understanding what I want to achieve in the future, who I want to affect with my design and how affecting other people’s lives will affect me. The University helped me figure out who I am.”

See other students talk about their university experience and what Know Your Mind means to them.