Meet the Alumni: Class of 2018
Bernice is a designer at Luminary Labs in New York City. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Bernice graduated with a B.Comm from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Marketing and Sustainability. She has experience in a variety of spheres, ranging from professional services to service design to non-profits. Bernice has also travelled, studied, and worked in over twenty-five cities across nine countries. Her thesis, In Equality: Migration, Labor, and Our Modern Global Economy, is an investigation of our modern labor system and how it allows individuals to be vulnerable to exploitation or enslavement.
Louis is a Product and Service Designer at Questtono in New York City. English-born and raised in New Zealand, Louis studied Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington and Carnegie Mellon University. He was a tutor at Victoria University and research scholar for the National Library of New Zealand. During the summer after his first year of graduate studies, Louis was a UX Design Intern at Microsoft in Seattle. His thesis, entitled Invisible Possessions: Reclaiming Our Relationship With Products in an Augmented Age, explores contemporary material culture and our relationship with products in an age that prioritizes access over ownership.
Smruti is a designer based in New York City. Since graduating from the National Institute of Design in India, she has designed and developed products—ranging from healthcare to home appliances—at frog design and Future Factory in Mumbai. She is skilled in ethnographic research, industrial design, and product strategy, which she is excited to apply in her goal of creating design that is impactful and products and services that are responsible. Ger thesis, entitled UPGRADE: Designing for Access and Acceptability around Limb Loss and Limb Difference, aims to create the conditions that lead to more open conversations about and with people with LL/D and their acceptance in society, as well as easier access to products and services that improve their quality of life.
Andrew is a Design Researcher at TrialSpark in New York City. Andrew studied Industrial Engineering at the University of Michigan before moving to San Francisco to work at Apple as an engineer in the manufacturing design team. His work focused on the development and mass production of iterative generations of the iPhone, from the 4S to the 7. After earning his MFA from Products of Design, Andrew was a design research fellow at the Omidyar Network. His thesis, entitled GENTLEmen: Challenging Adults to Raise Feminine Boys, explores gender identity, masculinity, stereotyping, parenting, education, and male culture.
Manako received her BA in anthropology from Reed College in Portland, OR. Prior to joining Products of Design, she worked in supply chain management for a major Japanese chemical company Toray, and in marketing for an Italian furniture manufacturer Kartell. Here at PoD, she has formed a new design manifesto for herself: "make it fit." Manako pledges to leverage her diverse background and use the sneaky power of design wherever possible to manipulate what others think and help those who share the pain of not fitting in.
Juho is Interaction Designer at frog design in Austin, Texas. Originally from South Korea, Juho moved to the U.S. by himself when he was fifteen years old. He joined the military after his freshman year in college, and worked as a military police at the Korean Embassies of Japan, China, Israel, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. After retiring as a sergeant, he returned to school, graduating with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Business Studies from New York University. Juho's thesis, entitled Cast Away: Designs for Socially Isolated Korean Men Contemplating Suicide, was presented in May 2018.
Alexia Cohen is a Venezuelan-Belgian-American product designer living in New York City. After graduating from Products of Design, Alexia worked at the Omidyar Network, and is now an exhibition designer at Dalberg. During her graduate studies, she was a TEK-TILE Fellow at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator where she collaborated with 14 designers and engineers to develop textiles with embedded electronics. Along with exhibiting her work in various galleries and trade shows across the U.S., Alexia spent five years as a Jewelry Studio Technician and Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute. As an avid climber, cyclist and hiker Alexia focused her thesis work on exploring women’s role in the great outdoors, yielding a suite of design offerings that are meant to honor, amplify and celebrate women’s position within this space, ultimately arguing for a more inclusive and diverse outdoors sphere. Her thesis, entitled DARE + DEFY: A Woman’s Place in the Great Outdoors, was presented in May 2018.
Kuan Xu was born and raised in Zhejiang province, China, and completed his Bachelors Degree in Interior Design at Zhejiang International University. During college, he pursued his dream of becoming a designer and took every opportunity to learn the discipline, joining the International Industrial Designing Contest and the Countryside Reconstruction Design Program. He is proficient in pitching ideas, 3D modeling, and giving presentations. Kuan is eager to help people with all kinds of design-related challenges, believing that curiosity and boldness in the face of failure are key to becoming a good designer. Kuan has never been to the U.S. before, and is excited to learn a new culture.
Sowmya is currently a Product Designer on the Lyft/Motivate-Citibike team in New York City. Prior to joining the MFA at Products of Design, Sowmya worked as a Senior User Experience Designer at Samsung Mobile R&D. She graduated with a degree in Industrial Design from the National Institute of Design in India. Sowmya's thesis, entitled Prosumerism: Crafting Alternate Consumption Experiences, explores whether products and services can ease the consumer’s guilt of excessive spending and materialism by providing them with options that best fit their values of sustainability.
Will is an Experience Designer at Pienso in New York City. After graduating from MFA Products of Design, Will collaborated with the Omidyar Network, where he developed design proposals that reveal, amplify and create healthy patterns of social interdependence as part of a one-month design research and concept development fellowship. Prior to attending graduate school, he was an Account Executive for the advertising agency BBDO where he managed clients at HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Will’s thesis, entitled Me, Myself and A.I.: How I Learned to Love the Machine That Took my Job, imagines near and distant futures where AI is used to increase individual agency—not diminish it.
Jingting is a designer and a nationally-acknowledged Chinese poet. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, while working as an aromatherapist and a drummer in a rock band. With her diverse academic and working background, Jingting is looking to explore design across a diverse number of fields, including technology, science, strategy, and art. When she’s not working on her projects, you can find her cooking, reading, drawing, playing music, and trying something new!
Born and raised in Peru, Sebastian has always been involved in the world of extreme sports. A former member of the Peruvian National water skiing team, as well as an avid surfer, mixed martial artist, tennis player, and cyclist, Sebastian studied Architecture at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas in Lima, Peru—focusing on Industrial and Personal Projects. After graduation, he spent three years in the industry working on residences, museums, hospitals, schools, theaters, office buildings, and HPC. Passionate about his craft, Sebastian moved to New York to learn new tools and techniques to expand his creative potential.
Hailing from China, Jiani Lin’s interests in handcrafting inspired her to pursue an education in products of design. Through her undergraduate major and various internships, she has gotten experience in different kinds of design—including product design, package design, graphic design, and website design. She decided to come to the United States to get a graduate degree after she read Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People, inspiring her to reevaluate the kind of things she actually wants to design, and challenging her to imagine how she could be a designer that makes people’s lives better. Jiani looks forward to exploring different design disciplines to find the area in which she can best combine her interests and skills.
Christopher studied at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he was trained in the foundations of visual language—composition, observation, eye-hand coordination, 2D and 3D skills. After receiving a BFA in Furniture Design, Chris operated his own business for 15 years, creating custom furniture, lighting, and ornamental ironwork for churches and private clients. As a highly skilled metalsmith, Chris managed many roles, from initial presentations, samples, and site verification, to fabrication, patination, and final installation. Chris’s philosophy is to engage both the analytical and the creative to generate meaningful and beautiful solutions. He sees the PoD program as an opportunity to broaden his methodologies, affect a wider range of people and contexts, as well as expand the definition of products and value beyond aesthetics and utility.
Driven by curiosity, Antriksh was born and raised in New Delhi, India. He completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in automobiles. Antriksh was part of India’s first maker space, where he dove deep into rapid prototyping, Internet of Things, and experience design. While there, he and his team built large-scale installations for Red Bull and The Lost Party—winning 2nd prize in a competition to redesign Ferrero’s "tic tac" display. In today’s digital world, Antriksh believes we should be judicious in our use of digital design, and sees an opportunity to reclaim “user experience” for the analog world through thoughtful, tangible, human-centered artifacts. Governed by freedom, balance, and empathy, Antriksh thrives on music, travel, and family.
Prior to joining Products of Design, Lassor worked at ModernMD Urgent Care—a medical start-up where he helped manage marketing, human resources, construction, financial reporting...and everything in between. He graduated from Brandeis University with concentrations in American Studies, Film, Business, and Law. His Senior Thesis, Wired America, explored the transformation of America through the cultural, legal, and economic parallels between the dawn of electrification in early 20th century and the Information Age. The paper concluded that, without thoughtful intervention, technological change will reflect the most regressive elements of society. Lassor developed his interest in design through the informal study of architecture and CAD. He hopes to leverage his broad range of interests to bring a unique perspective to the PoD program.
Teng Yu is from the northernmost part of China, and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Design at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology. Teng continued to complete an internship with the China FAW Co. Ltd Qingdao Automotive Research Institute in the summer of 2016, where he sketched and designed concept SUVs. He loves sports—particularly basketball and skiing—as well as classical music, studying flute for over 10 years. At PoD, he looks forward to continuing to expanding his design skillset to encompass digital and physical design, stretching his capabilities and vision.