Janet Luu on Reading Data as a Digital Humanist

By Connor Thompson

Janet Luu is an economics student minoring in digital humanities.

What brought you to Digital Humanities?
I found economics to be so highly theoretical, I wanted to take classes with skills that were applicable to my work. For me specifically, I wanted to work within marketing and operations – so learning tools like tableau and excel to manipulate data and create visualizations was key.

Did you have any concerns about the program prior to enrolling in the minor?
I hadn’t really worked with tech – I’m not a technical person by trade. I found that the students around me were in the same boat. Luckily, there was so much support and all of the instructors were so approachable.

I was worried I wouldn’t be fully immersed on the technical side, but DH taught me to think beyond just the underlying aspects of data to start asking questions of the data itself- why are there gaps, how was the data collected?

Has being a Digital Humanities students changed your career path?
A big part of marketing is telling a story, and DH is all about using data to tell a story.

What has been your most rewarding experience?
The one that really comes to mind is my UX Design class. It was a graduate level course, and we were able to work with real clients to redesign their websites. I worked with the California State Library System, specifically with their adult literacy program. The website was ancient, and it was so rewarding being able to give it new life.

Do you have any advice for prospective DH Students?
Take DH101 first, you’ll get a good idea if the program is for you or not. There’s going to be some aspects that you enjoy and some not so much, but there is such a wide variety of courses you can take for the Minor.