Meet the Alumni: Class of 2017
Andrea is a recent graduate of SVA’s MFA in Products of Design, had holds a BS in Engineering from Cornell University. For her thesis, she explored how design could provide opportunities in education for students to ask the questions about what information they want and need to know for personal success. She is currently working with an education startup on a platform connecting students to transnational mentors.
Experiments involving jet pumps and pyrotechnics were a regular occurrence in Josh’s childhood backyard. In high school, he started a summer magic camp for children, has over 15 years of technical theater experience and has performed around the world. In 2010, Josh graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Architecture. Combining his various backgrounds, he worked as an architectural lighting designer as well as a theatre consultant for several years in Chicago, assisting architects in documenting and constructing complex performance spaces. He also cofounded a storytelling publication that collects stories from across the country and produces online content. Always looking to become more proficient in circus arts, woodcarving and paragliding, Josh also hopes to use his curiosity and passion to design engaging interactions and meaningful products.
Doug Fertig received a BFA in Ceramics from Alfred University and an MFA in Ceramics from SUNY New Paltz. Doug has taught as an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz, Marymount Manhattan College and Long Island University. He has also worked as a studio assistant for KleinReid and Lightexture and as a glaze technician for Christopher Spitzmiller. Doug recently had a line of ceramic products for sale on Gilt and a collaborative commission with Kulvase for a vase that preserves the life of flowers, which was featured in House Beautiful. Doug has always been curious about the objects we make a part of our lives and how those things begin to reflect aspects of our own personality and behavior. Outside of the studio, Doug enjoys exercising, eating and things that are shiny.
Hailing from a small town in South Jersey, Alexa Forney has been an Austrian exchange student, worked on the world's first children's book on 3D printing, and traveled to discuss sustainability as far afield as Paris and as close to home as Philadelphia, where she earned a BS in Product Design from Drexel University in 2014. After a perspective-altering experience at a soup kitchen in Vermont, her goal is to build a career that supports the environmental needs of the future while serving the human needs of minorities and vulnerable groups.
Dayoung Hong is a product designer from Seoul, Korea. She obtained her BFA in Industrial Design from Sookmyung Women’s University, and has experience working across a broad range of design fields including UX/UI, graphic design, package design and editorial design. In 2014, her work was highlighted at the Seoul Design Festival. Before moving to NYC, she participated in an industry-academic project with SAMSUNG ITS and worked for a package design company. Dayoung believes that design created out of love towards humans and understanding of human nature will truly move everyone. Her goal is to develop user-friendly designs by determining what users need through observation of their subconscious habits and behaviors.
Arjun Kalyanpur is a designer by way of engineering. He graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 2009, followed by an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2012. Over the years to follow, he applied his knowledge and skills at a retail packaging company, quickly developing and launching several products for luxury cosmetics brand La Prairie Switzerland. Learning firsthand what it meant to take products from the whiteboard to store shelves, Arjun was inspired to pursue a design career. He completed his product design graduate degree in 2017, as part of SVA's MFA program, Products of Design. Arjun now works at design consultancy 10XBeta which is located in the New Lab, a ground-breaking product realization facility. His diverse skills and previous experience allow him to work on products ranging from consumer goods to medical devices, helping bring them from concept to commercialization.
Gahee Kang is an experience designer. She dreams of opening a ceramic studio with a big window and a dog called Boom (spring in Korean). After beginning her design journey at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) studying industrial design, she joined the MFA Products of Design program at SVA to broaden her scope of the tangible to include the intangible—interaction design. Her designs are logical and lovely—blending her artistic creativity and knowledge of design. Gahee envisions a smarter and happier world through designs ranging from augmented reality swimming goggles to a smart lamp that encourages people to be more grateful of their daily lives.
Hailing from the salty green of the Pacific Northwest, Michael Kenney has built a career creating physical and digital product experiences for startups and established brands alike, including Vans, Dannon, SYFY and Microsoft. Dual undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Graphic Design have provided a solid foundation and belief in the power of storytelling, with a special focus on how it affects the human experience. His goal with every project is to leverage that power to shape radical product and brand interactions. So, whether he is developing interactive, web-based content, or working on his Original Pin camera project, Michael is right at home exploring the intersection of story-driven, user-centered design, and commercial product development.
Raised in Boston, MA and Basel, Switzerland, Julia Lindpaintner returned to the States to study History of Science and Dramatic Arts at Harvard College. Upon graduation, Julia moved to New York City to study and perform modern dance, and began her (formal) journey in design when she joined Michael Bierut’s team at Pentagram in 2012. During her three years there, Julia acted as project manager, strategist, researcher, and writer on projects ranging from brand strategy and corporate identity to books, digital marketing tools, and environmental installations across a variety of industries. During the summer of 2016, Julia worked for Common Cents Lab, where she studied behavioral economics, conducted original research, and worked with a team to develop products aimed at improving the financial well-being of low and middle income Americans. Julia is fascinated by behavioral science, organizational development, and win-win strategies, and believes in working across design disciplines to facilitate collaboration, envision alternative systems, and encourage prosocial behavior.
Will received his BA in Studio Sculpture from Hendrix College in Arkansas. He built on that strong conceptual experience as a Core Fellow at Penland School of Crafts in Western North Carolina, where he developed a diverse set of fine craft skills that range from ceramics and glass to wood and metal work. Movement, play, and exploration have always been integral parts of his work. As a craftsperson he is fascinated with the way people interact with things and objects. As a designer he is driven to inspire and provoke behavior change in others.
Xumeng Mou’s name means “thought and dream.” She is a daydreamer, dairy keeper, and science-fiction story manufacturer. She received her BS in Industrial Design from Beijing Institute of Technology in 2015. Xumeng has developed a unique understanding of empathy during the process of novel writing and has focused on psychology, emotional reactions and behaviors for her thesis in Products of Design. She believes rationality and emotion are not opposite to each other, and design can function as a way of upgrading the unconscious mind to being a reliable and legitimate tool for creative problem-solving.
A New Zealander and an alumnus of Victoria University of Wellington, Oscar Pipson completed undergraduate degrees in both Industrial Design and Management. Adventurous in spirit and curious of mind, he has spent time travelling, living, working or studying in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia and the US prior to moving to NYC. A designer, researcher and teacher, Oscar worked for both Victoria University School of Design and Callaghan Innovation on various research projects focusing on multi-material 3d printing. Most recently, Oscar has been contracting for Formway Design Studio, world leaders in high performance furniture. An award winner at the Core77 Design Awards and Best Design Awards, Oscar’s work has also been featured on numerous international design blogs.
Ailun Sai is a highly-motivated multi-disciplinary designer who merges creativity with positive social impact. An industrial Designer by training, Ailun draws reference from diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. She also has a particular interest in exploring new possibilities in future scenarios and proposing open social questions with possible alternatives. Born in Dalian, China, Ailun is currently based in New York. She holds a BFA in Industrial design from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In addition to being a designer, Ailun is also an illustrator, artist, teacher, sports enthusiast, and animal lover.
Karen is a design strategist based in New York City. Previously, she worked as a costumer, milliner, and hair & makeup artist, from the Great White Way of New York to the White City of Tel Aviv. Karen has an emphatic interest in social justice and environmental issues and how design can play a part in building a more egalitarian society in a more beautiful world.
Jenna Witzleben is a designer, strategist, engineer, environmentalist (and more!). She received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, then immediately leaped into the world of design by joining the Products of Design program. She loves to be constantly learning something new and has expanded her experience through working as a researcher and engineer at Eleven LLC., as an exhibition designer at Design Museum Boston, and as an experience designer at R/GA in NYC. Jenna is drawn to exploring the furtherance of human capabilities and resilience, an interest she often associates with her 20 years of dance training. She enjoys being able to hold seemingly contrasting interests and points of views, resulting in work spanning from cyborgism to rewilding.