Kirsten Marr and Angela Jiang: Love Letters & Secret Gardens

Kirsten Marr, Angela Jiang and Michelle Zhen working on their CityStudio project.

Kirsten Marr and Angela Jiang are two of the students who created the Love Letters and Secret Gardens project in Spring 2020. Along with their third group member, Michelle Zhen, they won First Place and the Audience Choice Award at HUBBUB #2. 

Tell us a bit about yourselves: what are you studying, and what are your career aspirations?

KM: My background is in event management and communications and I worked in these fields for several years before returning to school to pursue a BBA with a focus in accounting. I will be pursuing a CPA designation following graduation with the end goal of a career in project management. Outside of working towards my degree I am currently working for Capilano University in the student recruitment department and am the president of the Enactus Capilano team.

AJ: I’m an accounting student and plan on pursuing a CPA designation after graduation, with the end goal of teaching in the far future. Capilano has been such a pivotal part of my personal & professional growth and I hope to pay it forward one day. I am also currently co-president of Young Women in Business Capilano with one of our team members, Michelle.

Tell us a bit about your CityStudio project – what was the question / problem and what concept did your group develop?

KM: Our CityStudio project was to develop a placemaking initiative within the Economic Health Cluster in the City of North Vancouver with a focus on community building. Inspired by the central role the emergency and health care workers of this area play in the lives of North Shore residents, our project features a mural of love notes from the community to the emergency and health care workers. These notes continue in what will be transformed into a greenway, perfect for a gentle stroll or peaceful lunch and intended to be enjoyed by all in the community.

Rendering of Love Letters wall near Lions Gate Hospital.

How did the CityStudio experience differ from other university group projects you have done?

KM: In the BBA program at CapU we often are given real-world business as the subjects of our projects, but being able to work with an actual client from whom we received feedback and were able to consult throughout the process allowed for a much more authentic experience.

AJ: Having the opportunity to deliver client-driven content and receive ongoing feedback about our project from the client made all the difference in this experience. Working with clients is better learnt doing rather than reading about in a textbook, and I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity to do so during my time at CapU.

What was the best part of your CityStudio experience?

KM: Working with Michelle and Angela was without a doubt the most enjoyable part of this experience. They are both brilliant and hardworking individuals.

AJ: The people really made the CityStudio experience so enjoyable! The amount of passion found in the clients, instructors, and classmates was amazing. Kirsten & Michelle are outstanding people and it is always a treat to work with them.

Rendering of Secret Garden behind North Vancouver RCMP building.

What was the most challenging part?

KM: A little more than halfway through the project we were faced with classes moving online due to COVID -19. At this point, our group had been meeting in person regularly to iron out the details of our proposal when suddenly everything was moved online. Navigating this drastic change in our routines with very little time to do so was a challenge, to say the least, but I was thoroughly impressed with how quickly our team adapted.

What would your advice be to any student interested in pursuing a CityStudio project?

KM: Be sure to take advantage of your time with the clients, ask questions, and get clarification on any details of which you are unsure. A clear understanding of what the client wants will always result in a better product.

AJ: My advice would be to do it! Don’t be afraid to give it your all and think outside of the box.

Angela and Kirsten’s CityStudio experience was the result of a collaboration between Leah Herman, Community Development Coordinator for the City of North Vancouver, and Laurie Prange Martin, instructor in the School of Business at Capilano University. Learn more about her group’s project here.