Kyron Whitfield (MMM 2022) discusses his focus on creating human-centered design solutions and reflects on Black History Month this year.

On Human-Centered Design & Equitable Progress

Inside Kellogg recently connected with Kyron Whitfield (MMM 2022) on his experience as a brand manager, his focus on creating human-centered design solutions and his reflections on Black History Month this year. Here’s what he had to say.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what did you do before Kellogg?

Hey there! I’m Kyron (pronounced like Byron with a K). Originally from South Carolina, I moved up to Evanston from North Carolina after working at Lenovo. Since I was a young kid, I have been fascinated with technology, so I truly enjoyed working in the tech space with such talented people around the world. As a brand manager, I got to help define what Lenovo stood for and bring the vision of ‘Smarter technology for all’ to life.

Sidenote: You’re probably wondering, “How is this southern surviving the Chicago winter…” Simple — layers and staying indoors as much as possible. Open to more suggestions!

At Kellogg, which program are you in and what clubs or activities are you passionate about?

Now at Kellogg, I’m a first-year student in the MMM Program where I’m learning how to create human centered solutions that solve problems. Put simply, I get to ask folks a bunch of questions in order to understand their unique needs and experiences. Then, with a team, I design new products, services, and experiences around those needs. While I’ll always be passionate about technology, through activities like Kellogg Design Challenge, I’ve been able to apply learning in the classroom to help solve challenges for different industries. By helping to organize Kellogg Cares Week, I’ve had to opportunity to talk with non-profit organizations across the Chicago area and learn how faculty, staff, and students alike could help make a difference together.

What has Black History Month meant to you, and are you acknowledging it differently this year?

For me, Black History Month has always been an intentional time to celebrate those that have fought for progress and honor the many accomplishments and contributions of Black people. It was a time to look back and a time of unapologetic pride. This year, I see Black History Month both as a time to look back to learn about history and as a time to look ahead. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matters protests of 2020, so many people were forced to acknowledge racism did not end with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” or the election of President Barack Obama. Systemic racism is a very real and urgent problem. I believe that history provides much needed context for the challenges we face today, and better equips us to design comprehensive solutions that continually push us towards equitable progress.

Of course, collective empathy, a desire for change, and an appetite for “good trouble” are all important in this effort, but that’s a conversation for another time…

What are you most excited for BMA to share with Kellogg this month?

There are so many activities that BMA has planned for Black History Month from conversations around Racial Justice and Faith to the annual Night at the Apollo talent showcase. Personally, I’m most excited about the Hear My Story: The African Diaspora panel scheduled for February 23rd. In a year where connecting with classmates is perhaps more challenging, I especially appreciate intentional moments to hear firsthand experiences of others. (Perhaps it’s the whole MMM human centered thing I mentioned…). That said, check out the Black History Month programing. I’m sure there is something for everyone!