Keita Ohshiro

What does it mean to you to be an engineer?

Engineers merge disciplines and ways of thinking.

How is your field being redefined for today and tomorrow’s needs? What contributions do you hope to make to this redefined landscape?

My work and study have been conducted against an expansive and interdisciplinary backdrop that
I think is characteristic of the way the world is headed. My undergraduate studies were in the liberal arts, and I started my career in a music-related business. I was fascinated by tech, however, and after teaching myself to code, I returned to school to study computer science and math.

When I discovered the Integrated Digital Media program, I knew I had found a way to merge all
my worlds. My research involved ways of making mathematical graphs, which are very visual, accessible to people with vision impairments by using audio. I’m preparing to now go on to a Ph.D. program, where I’ll focus on human-computer interaction and machine learning, still with the goal of using audio for accessibility.

How did NYU Tandon help you redefine yourself?

I arrived at Tandon with a general desire to do something societally beneficial, but the IDM curriculum helped me hone in on a mission, particularly after I took part in the multidisciplinary Ability Project. I began to realize that it’s not enough to want to “help people,” because that’s a condescending, one-sided way of viewing it; you have to design the products and services with people of all abilities in mind.