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shifting the conversation

Beyond the internship: Shifting the conversation with Chris Gonzales

Chris delves into how a problem he faced at work inspired him to seek change through a different perspective.

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our people. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, team members share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. As we look beyond the internship, Chris Gonzales, a summer intern in Southlake, Texas on Sabre’s UX Design team, delves into how a problem he faced at work inspired him to seek change through a different perspective.

I’ve always found people interesting. What are their hopes, dreams and motivations? What influences their decisions? What actions (or reactions) did they make? My passion for understanding people led me to pursue psychology in college. After graduating, I would go on to work in counseling.

Before my Design Strategy internship at Sabre, I was a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Like many counselors, my clients would find themselves in a variety of situations, including mental health disorders, losing loved ones, depression, isolation or lack of basic resources.

It was spiritually fulfilling to work face-to-face with people in need and empower them to regain the ability to function during difficult circumstances. Despite this, I found that I couldn’t help everyone.

Fairly quickly, I realized that there was an entire demographic of people who tried to access mental health resources but were unsuccessful. In fact, over 50% of people with any type of mental health issue do not seek treatment. However, these statistics don’t represent the people who have access to some sort of mental health treatment but cannot get past barriers in their way. Barriers such as lack of access to custody documentation, experiencing a tenuous relationship with reality or lack of digital knowledge all inhibit people in getting the help they need and deserve.

In this moment, I recognized the dire need to improve the systems and designs in place to potentially make an even greater impact on those people. I found that I could combat these issues from a different perspective.

That’s when I discovered the field of User Experience (UX). I started taking UX classes at Southern Methodist University. And after five years as a counselor, I decided to transition my career. 

Through UX, I have had the opportunity to work with people directly and action their insights. By extension, UX design is a way for me to give a voice to the people who rely on the services in place every day – not just the organizations providing the service. Working at Sabre is unquestionably defining the shape of my career. I have been fortunate to have valuable mentors through this bold step in my career journey and intend to take their lessons into my own practice.

I hope to help bring new perspectives to old problems through my work. Fields like medicine, mental health and government services are notoriously behind the innovation curve, but I believe UX integration and maturity can make a change. I’m not sure where I will end up 5-10 years from now, but I know that I am right where I need to be.

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from curious, bold and committed team members globally. Throughout our internship program, we prioritize hands-on experience, empowering interns to develop new skillsets, pursue passions and explore out-of-the-box solutions. Learn more about how you can kick start your career at Sabre by checking out our internship opportunities

about the author

An active student at the University of North Texas studying Interaction Design, Chris Gonzales also serves as a UX Design Intern at Sabre. Before his summer internship in Southlake, Texas, he received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin followed by a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Chris continues to inspire others by combatting challenges with an innovative mindset.

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