Tina Ly uplifts IRLE research through content design

This story is part of our IRLE Engaged Learning Series. This series highlights the experiences of students connected to IRLE and their contributions within both our own units and local community organizations. 

By Lesly Ayala | December 8, 2021

For Tina Ly (she/her), graphic design has been a professional interest and a significant part of her UCLA career. A fourth-year statistics major and digital humanities minor, Ly is dedicated to creating content that lifts up research on labor markets and how work impacts workers and their families. As she approaches her design projects, she’s focused on creating content that presents complex labor topics to a broader community. 

For the past year, Ly has worked to uplift the work of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) through content design. 

The IRLE is a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to research, teaching and service on labor and employment issues. Through the work of its units –  Labor Studies, the Labor Center, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health program, and the Human Resources Round Table – the Institute forms wide-ranging research agendas that carry UCLA into the Los Angeles community and beyond.

“Tina is a dedicated, talented designer and media creator. I’m always amazed at how she can transform our research data, findings, and institute stories into visually engaging content that we can share with a wider audience,” said UCLA IRLE Communications Director Citlalli Chávez-Nava. 

Ly shared details of her experience working at the IRLE below:

Job Title: Communications Assistant

Organization: UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

Location: Remote

Employer type: Educational Institution

How do you support the work of the IRLE?

I create a lot of the graphics that you see on our social media pages, especially our Instagram page. I helped launch that page last year. Now it’s more of trying to keep up with the engagements, making sure that we have active users, and making sure that our content is digestible in a way that amplifies the work the institute does as well as its subunits. 

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I think for me, it would definitely be the creative side of everything. I often ask myself, how can we make this content be presented in the best way possible? Throughout my time here with the IRLE, I have been creating different types of formats whether that be a static graphic or a video, and eventually, try to expand this for accessibility purposes. 

What motivated you to join the IRLE?

I remember reading the job description and seeing the opportunity to work creatively. When I was looking at the IRLE website and reading the purpose of the research that they do, the mission really resonated with me as a first-generation student and seeing how we’re trying to amplify voices and trying to help those who may not understand what rights they might have. All this content has to be very engaging, but I think the main point is for it to be very purposeful at the same time.

Can you describe a typical week for you working at the IRLE?

Currently, I’m working remotely. I see what I need to do for the beginning of the week, and then I start thinking about various ways to display our content and touching base with our Communications Director, Citlalli Chávez-Nava. For example, if we have a new story or report, I review our print copy and then see how we can bring this into a digital space. During my free time, I like to check on our social media pages, share content from the other units on our Instagram story and develop ideas for new original content. 

How has this work influenced your future endeavors?

For me, coming into this role, I was interested in design, but I was still not too sure. So through this, it reinforced the idea that I really want to do design. I find it very interesting, especially when thinking creatively about how we’re displaying the content. My work has really influenced me to see the side of content creation, so I’m interested in perhaps pursuing that role.

Why do you think this type of work is important?

Everybody is on their phones or on their computers. A lot of things are digitized, especially because of what has been going on this past year. So I think it’s important to use these online platforms to amplify messages, research, reports and blog articles that we do to help educate. Maybe you read something and it kind of leads to this domino effect where you’re telling this other person that they should know about this. The work that we do helps amplify the research that the IRLE and its subunits do so that people understand what’s going on in terms of workers’ rights, issues or current policies. 

Do you have a specific memory where you had the most fun while working at the IRLE?

I have to say the editorial meetings. It’s virtual but I like that we all get together from the different departments and units to discuss content releases or what we’re doing. I think it’s really awesome to see the work that the Labor Center and the other units do and be influenced by that. It’s also a very open, welcoming space to share input and I love how everyone here is willing to pursue new ideas. It’s very cool to see that all in action.