Meet the Class of 2023: Yeseul Namkoung, Leey Shiaan How, and Nayeon Kim

by Aprajita C. November 16, 2021

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 Yeseul Namkoung, Leey Shiaan How, and Nayeon Kim.

Portraits of students Yeseul, Leey, and Nayeon on white background. They talk about their experience as 1st year IXD students. Portraits of students Yeseul, Leey, and Nayeon on white background. They talk about their experience as 1st year IXD students.

Headshots of(L-R) Yeseul Namkoung, Leey Shiaan How, and Nayeon Kim

Yeseul Namkoung

1. Tell us about yourself

Hello, I am Yeseul Namkoung from South Korea. Please call me ‘Suri’ as it’s easier to pronounce. Before I came here, I was working as an art director in the advertising industry. I enjoyed creating empathetic narratives derived from key consumer insights. While I was enjoying the creativity of the advertisement industry, I found unilateral communication limiting and instead found myself drawn to the multi-layered, engagement-focused nature of interaction design. From this, I pivoted my career to focus on developing my passion for UX design. 

Outside of work, I love shooting on film because I like to capture people's behaviors, emotions, and interactions with their surroundings. 

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

I would say 'Strategic Innovation in Product/Service Design' is one of my favorite classes. This class really helped me grow my value as a strategic designer. In this class, we work with clients to create strategic design proposals for their businesses. We learn to research a problem via the sociological, economic, and tech scientific perspectives and learn how to apply business strategies in a design context. This class explores the intersection between design, business, and technology, which is the most interesting part.

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

I always enjoy discovering new inspirations. Thus, I love New York, where diverse cultures and people exist. People in New York do not hesitate to express themselves by wearing unique fancy clothes, playing Jazz in the park, and dancing with whom they don't know - at Times square. This energetic atmosphere makes me feel inspired and free. Every part of life in NYC becomes a source of inspiration, which makes me keep loving this place.

4. Current favorite album?

 I would say 'A liquid breakfast' from Audrey Nuna without hesitation. One person I met here in New York introduced me to this album, and I fell in love with this singer. She is a Korean-American musician coming from New Jersey who creates rebellious but dreamy-themed songs. In this album, I highly recommend listening to 'Top again' and 'Damn right.'

Check Yeseul’s work here

Leey Shiaan How

1. Tell us about yourself

 Hello, I’m Leah How from Malaysia! I’ve always been interested in creating digital experiences through strategy and design. After graduating from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Film, Television, and Interactive Media Studies, I launched my career as a digital strategist for an early-stage health & wellness startup. There, I discovered my passion for user experience design, when I had the opportunity to build a text-based online learning platform from the ground up. Since then, I have travelled across the world, leading creative teams for technology startups in New York and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

I am truly fascinated by how user experience design combines research, strategy, and design to bring users together and improve their digital experience. My goal is to use my background in strategy and business to create community centered products to transform the future landscape of digital experiences. Outside of design, I enjoy creating digital content on Instagram and making handmade boutique earrings from polymer clay. I love the idea of connecting with people through art, design, and exploring different cultures. 

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

I’ve enjoyed all my classes so far but if I had to choose my favorite, it would be ‘Service Design and Transformation’ by Marshall Sitten. Before this class, it never dawned on me how crucial service design is in creating a product/service that effectively serves the community. Not only is it important to find a solution, but it is also crucial to create a framework that uncovers necessary elements to provide a well-rounded service to the community. 

Even though this class is taught online, Marshall never fails to make it extremely hilarious, interactive, interesting, and personalized. Most importantly, Marshall helps us engage in thought provoking conversations on service design through our daily interactions. I have learned so much from this class alone and I look forward to learning more.

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

My favorite part of NYC is how every corner of the city feels like a different country. If I ever get bored of Chelsea, I can travel to Brooklyn and escape to what feels like a different country. There are so many different foods, events, and museums that feel completely different based on which area you are in. It almost feels like I’ve never left home when I go to a Malaysian restaurant. I love that no matter how far I am, I will always have a piece of home. 

4. Current favourite album?

My all time favorite artist is NIKI (Nicole Zefanya) from 88rising. I love all of her albums and music! She has the most beautiful, soothing, and versatile voice. Her music is the first thing I listen to when I need a morale boost, and her calming presence just makes me feel like everything will go according to plan if I am as calm as her. She is also such an inspiration to me as she plays such a big role in Southeast Asian representation, especially, in the arts. I am so excited to hear more from her and possibly contribute to the Southeast Asian representation in the near future. 

Follow Leah on here

Nayeon Kim

1. Tell us about yourself

Hello, I am Nayeon! It’s been one and a half months since I started studying at SVA. Before coming to NYC, I worked as a UI designer at a start-up company that helps people use medical services more conveniently. Participating in multiple projects that solve usability issues with user behavior data, I have started to ponder over good user experiences from a broader perspective, rather than only aesthetically pleasing designs. It prompted my decision to pursue graduate studies in interaction design at the School of Visual Arts.

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

My favorite class is SIPSD! Because I am working on a project with very famous sponsors through the class. The sponsors advise us during the whole project so that we go on the right path. Also, it can be a great opportunity to get an internship. This fact motivates many students, including me. We do all the processes, from research to making a prototype in the class. After this semester, I think I will definitely be grown.

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

The night view of NYC is the best! Also, I often go to Korea town in Manhattan. There are a lot of Korean restaurants and bars. Whenever I miss my country, I go there and have some Korean food. It really helps me to release my stress!

4. Current favorite album?

I love to listen to old music. Recently I'm into Maroon5's first album, 'Songs About Jane.' I used to listen to their songs when I was in middle school every day. When I listen to their songs, I remember the memories of that time. My favorite song on the album is' Sweetest goodbye.'

 Check Nayeon's work here