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Meet the Class of 2023:

Hillary Soletic, Siqi Yan, and DingJie Weng

Meet the students of the Class of 2023! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting incoming students, so our community can get to know them better. Today, get to know our designers Hillary Soletic, Siqi Yan, and DingJie Weng.

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Headshots of(L-R) Hillary Soletic, Siqi Yan, and DingJie Weng

Hillary Soletic

1. Tell us about yourself?

Hi! I’m Hillary and I’m a lifelong artist and designer originally from New York City living in—you guessed it—New York City! A woman of many interests, I have come to realize that the common thread throughout all of my pursuits, both professional and personal, have been motivated by my desire to create meaningful human connections. Thus far, I have sought connection visually, through interior design and fine arts, verbally, through marketing and improv, and most recently through the communication of user experience design.

Outside of school, you can find me exploring new coffee shops (gotta keep the jitters up!), on the hunt for the city’s best burger (gotta keep the yum’s up!), or trying any sort of new creative class (gotta keep the ego down!). In addition to art and design, I am also incredibly passionate about comedy. A previous performer and now busy grad student, my only performances these days consist of internal conversations that result in random bursts of laughter alone in public. Nonetheless, as an avid comedy fan, I derive great pleasure from improv and stand up shows, and any and all podcasts and books which shed light on a comedian’s process.

In reflecting, I realize I am vitalized by any sort of methodical act that spurs visceral reaction—be it art, design, or comedy.

2. What class are you enjoying the most so far and why?

I’m currently really enjoying my Research Methods class. As to be expected, it’s been a medley of discussions regarding ethics, empathy, and the art of meaningful conversation to solve challenging issues.

3. What is your favorite part of NYC since moving here?

My favorite part of NYC is walking down the streets of Park Slope with sunshine peering through the overarching trees, coffee in hand. (I’ll leave out the part about dropping my coffee and missing my train.)

4. Current favourite album?

Important life update: I recently found one of my old—and functioning!—iPods, so I’ve been on a real throwback kick as of late. That being said, I like to think I’ve remained loyal to Jet’s album Get Born.

Follow Hillary here

Siqi Yan

1.Tell us about yourself

A: Hi, I’m Sukky (Siqi) Yan, a user experience designer, and photographer based in NYC. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in management in 2016 in China, I founded YES, a lean and creative photography studio, where I managed diverse teams and scaled the business in commercial photography. Witnessing the rapid growth of mobile internet and new media, the exciting power of interaction design attracted me. I’m obsessed with capturing the sparks of the interaction among humans, systems, technologies, and services.

2. What class are you enjoying the most so far and why?

A: Strategic Innovation in Product/Service Design. In this course, we will form teams to work together to learn and apply the 4D method to define a challenge with a sponsoring organization. I’m in the team working with Goldman Sachs, which makes me excited since I can get in touch with the art investment market to deliver a practical design outcome.

3. What is your favorite part of NYC since moving here?

A: Meeting with classmates and alumni from diverse cultural backgrounds is a valuable experience. Also, the containment of NYC towards everything makes me feel safe and sound.

4. Current favorite album?

A: I’m recently recapping Boney M’s “Take the heat of me”, containing the old song Sunny

Follow Siqi here

DingJie Weng

1. Tell us about yourself

Hi, I’m Danny. I’m a digital product designer who grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. I love crafting beautiful, user-centered products through user-testing and research. Before coming to New York city, I worked as a brand designer at a Hong Kong-based startup. Through this role, I worked with teams across the region to develop functional design methodology and grew my passion for creating valuable and intuitive products for users.

Aside from work, I enjoy watching movies and growing plants. I also love exploring new cultures and trying new avenues of technology.

2. What class are you enjoying the most so far and why?

The class I enjoyed the most so far would be Strategic Innovation in Product/Service Design, as I love tackling business problems with a team!

3. What is your favorite part of NYC since moving here?

My favorite part of NYC would be the diversity and inclusion. No matter who you are, you could find your own place here.

4. Current favourite album?

My current favorite album would be Positions by Ariana Grande.

Follow Danny here

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