Meet the Class of 2023: Esther Lin, Yazhen Zhang, and Kai Hsin Chiu

by Aprajita C. December 14, 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 Esther Lin, Yazhen Zhang, and Kai Hsin Chiu.

Portraits of IXD students (L-R) Esther Lin, Yazhen Zhang, and Kai Hsin Chiu. They talk about their experience as first year IXD students.  Portraits of IXD students (L-R) Esther Lin, Yazhen Zhang, and Kai Hsin Chiu. They talk about their experience as first year IXD students.

Headshots of(L-R) Esther Lin, Yazhen Zhang, and Kai Hsin Chiu

Esther Lin

1. Tell us about yourself

Esther is a product designer currently based in New York. She was born and raised in Shenzhen, China, and spent the last five years in Seattle. In 2020, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human-Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington.

Esther specializes in taking a human-centered approach to solve complex challenges and design equitable, feasible, and impactful solutions. She enjoys exploring different industries and collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds. For the past three years, she interned and worked as a product designer for four different startups — designing solutions for various user needs.

Besides product design, Esther has a great passion for typography and branding. She has been taking opportunities to develop unique branding for local organizations and companies. In her free time, you may catch her in the bouldering gym, shredding down the mountain, or exploring new activities around the city.

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

My favorite class so far is Research Method, taught by Hirumi Nanayakkara and Adriana Valdez Young. Both Hirumi and Adriana have extensive experience applying different research methods to different stages of products and projects. I really enjoyed learning about each real-world case they had worked on and how they brought an inclusive mindset to the very beginning of the design process. All the homework readings reflect that the industry is progressing and constantly new perspectives emerge. The new emerging voices challenge what I have learned from my undergrad and helped me be aware of the methodologies and tools I use as a designer.

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

My favorite part of NYC is East Village. There are a lot of old-school bars, Asian fusion restaurants, and vintage shops. It's a great area to hang out with friends at night, and I highly recommend the Spot Dessert Bar for some late-night dessert!

4. Current favorite album?

'These Two Windows' by Alec Benjamin

Check Esther’s work here

Yazhen Zhang

1. Tell us about yourself

I am a passionate designer who currently creates design concepts and branding, and have dreams to be a user experience designer in the future. I received a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design at the California College of the Arts. Throughout my study and work as a UI designer, developing tech products, I have been amazed by the possibility of design. I find that I am more interested in human-computer interaction design, and want to have a deeper understanding of how to create experiences with visual elements that work well across all screens and devices, even beyond device limitations. This pushed me to pursue a Master’s in Interaction Design at SVA. I strive to bring a wealth of skills to communicate and connect my ideas. I pride myself on finding simple and elegant solutions to complex problems across various platforms.

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

 Interaction logic! The class has a great professor and is very useful in the coursework.

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

 Definitely the views and the variety of food! 

 4. Current favorite album

‘Born to Die’ by  Lana Del Rey

Kai Hsin Chiu

1. Tell us about yourself

Hi, I am a SVA interaction design first year student. Before coming here, I studied Accounting in college and was working in software apps and computer peripherals companies. I have always been fond of creating delightful digital experiences for users despite it being a long and winding road to finding the path. When I’m not working, you can find me cooking, hanging out in coffee shops, or visiting NY museums.

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

Service design class taught by Marshall is one of the best classes. He is very clear about what he has to teach us but at the same time keeping the conversation open. It makes me rethink the purpose of a service, not only to its users but also to society.

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

Coffee shops, jazz bars, and infinite shows! I am inspired by the city, and the fact that I am able to meet people from different cultures/backgrounds here makes NYC a more captivating city.

4. Current favorite album?

'A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships' by The 1975

Check Kai's work here