Putra Roeung BFA '12 (Web Development & Interaction Design)

I came to the Web Development & Interaction Design department (formerly called Multimedia) at UArts because of the wide range of things I could do. The people were really great. At first when I put my work up on the board to be critiqued, the experience was a little bit overwhelming. But over time, I learned to love it. People were actually giving me really good feedback and because of that, I was able to improve.

I started to work on the subject of the Khmer Rouge for my senior thesis because, growing up in Cambodia, I didn’t really know that much about the issue. It wasn’t until my family moved to the States when I was around 10 years old that I tried asking my parents about it.

Over time, they told me that some of my aunts, uncles and relatives from both of my parents’ families lost their lives, years before I was born, at the hands of the regime. My parents and their families were forced to work as slaves in a labor camp growing rice. Fortunately, my parents survived and escaped with their remaining relatives. Today, victims of the Khmer Rouge regime are confronting their former oppressors through a UN-backed tribunal associated with the Cambodian courts. It seems like most younger Cambodians don’t really know what happened. I figured that by doing apps, I could bring attention to this subject. When it came to app development, a lot of what I knew from web development platforms was completely flipped upside down. Luckily, if there was one thing the program taught me, it was how to be adaptable in dealing with new technologies.

My Khmer Rouge Tribunal app provides a fast and beautiful way to flip through news stories related to the tribunal. My second app, the Aksar Khmer, helps younger Cambodians learn how to write traditional Khmer letters, which were abolished during the regime. I plan to add a Khmer Rouge app that will cover the rise and fall of the regime with an interactive map, a timeline and images.

The response that I’ve received from the Cambodian community is overwhelming. Many older Cambodians as well as the youth have expressed interest and a sense of pride.

I’m currently a creative developer at Bluecadet, an interactive design studio in Philadelphia. I would like to grow to be a senior designer and developer, and someday open my own studio.