Student Spotlight: Joanne Cheong

Born and raised in Manhattan, NY, Joanne Cheong has always been a forward thinker with a passion for innovation. Throughout high school, she actively participated in various internship and volunteer opportunities that helped her shape her soft skills while experimenting with different career paths. As a current OPIM Innovate lab specialist, her tenacity works to the benefit of everyone, creating “tech kits,” or educational materials, to help others adopt valuable skill sets. Now, Joanne is looking to use her insight on emerging technologies to “drive business value by implementing efficient and cost-effective tooling.” 

In speaking with Joanne, she is clear and confident about her goals and interests, all while carrying herself in a self-assured and poised manner. She is a career-driven professional, yet carries a curiosity that often has her pursuing different hobbies. “Indulging my creative side is a personal passion of mine,” she says. She participates in blogging, bullet journaling, web development, and general content creation. Currently, she is creating a planner application to keep users on track. “I want to provide a convenient tool for those who struggle with time management. It can definitely be a challenge,” she explains. 

From food photography to data analytics, Joanne doesn’t stop at basic knowledge. She loves a challenge, even if it’s self-imposed. This is what led her to pursue Management Information Systems (MIS): “It’s an intersection between both worlds–technical and business–and there can be miscommunication if you don’t have a firm understanding of the two. That’s where we come in as MIS majors: we help bring those worlds together.”  

The MIS major, in many ways, has helped shape Joanne, solidifying her passions while helping her open doors. If it hasn’t been in the classroom, it’s been from working beside Jonathan Moore, MIS Program Director and Founder of OPIM Innovate. “Through every opportunity I pursued and every challenge I faced at Innovate, I further developed my skills. I bettered myself,” she says. Through these experiences, she’s become a better leader: “I consistently improve my functional knowledge. That way, I can help others.” 

Ryan O’Connor, an OPIM adjunct, has also inspired Joanne and her interests, especially in the realm of emerging technology. “His classes on the industrial internet of things and machine learning gave me a perspective on emerging technology I was never exposed to, before. He was also the first person that helped me analyze and apply these concepts in depth. This helped me with future projects,” she explains. Joanne applied internet of things and augmented reality concepts to her internship at Pfizer over the summer. 

In a few months, Joanne will be faced with the challenges of the professional world. In reminiscing about her academic career, she openly attributes a large portion of her growth to her exposure to the professional sphere as a student. “You have to supplement the theoretical concepts you learn in class with real-world experiences,” she says. “It’s a good way to propel yourself forward and prepare for professional challenges.” To that effect, she offers this advice to MIS majors: “Take OPIM special topics courses to explore your interests and participate in case challenges to improve your business acumen. Both will help you gain up-to-date knowledge on the tech industry and are fun ways to test the skills you already have.”