20 Questions

Get to know our nine Student Design Challenge finalists here at IxDA18 in Lyon, France

Having a blast with our SDC finalists!
The students that we select for the SDC are not only particularly good at their craft but also brave and articulate. This year, I am also impressed by their emotional intelligence and ability to iterate.
— Ana Domb, SDC Co-Chair

Brooke Bosley

What are you studying?

Digital Media at Georgia Institute of Technology

What inspired you to design?

I was inspired to pursue the field of design for two reasons. The first was the desire to rethink traditional methods of design and incorporate elements of black feminist studies. The second was a desire to work on problems such as education with communities of color. I also hope to educate and encourage other black women to pursue design.

Who is your favorite artist?

Ellen Gallagher

Amy Ashida

What are you studying?

Interaction Design (Master’s) at the School of Visual Arts

What do you think is the biggest thing missing in design education today?

Ethics — classes dedicated to inclusivity — how to research thoughtfully with people with disabilities, how to co-create with them and not for them. A lot of design students approach problems/populations with a “savior mentality” as a default, and if we only talk about this occasionally or at the end of a project, that never gets fixed.

Adam Chasen

What are you studying?

Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurism (Master’s) at the Austin Center for Design

What do you enjoy most about design?

What aspects don’t I enjoy? I love the process from research to product development. It is always challenging and invigorating. I thrive in environments that value critique and revision. I am thrilled that as a designer, I will always be trying to improve my craft.

One word to describe yourself:


Kevin Ong

What are you studying?

Interaction Design (Master’s) at Malmo University

What about design do you most enjoy?

The thing I enjoy most about design is its multidisciplinary aspect. There are so many facets of design and it also acts as a bridge between the arts and science. Design is a junction point that strives to make the lives of people and their progeny better.

Who is your favorite artist?

Shinegenori Soejima

Katarina Yee

What are you studying?

Interaction Design (Master’s) at the School of Visual Arts

What do you think is the biggest thing missing in design education today?

Figuring out solutions with limited resources. I think there are so many underserved populations in the world who we need to design for. Those designs have to start somewhere, and sometimes those aren’t the coolest, most cutting-edge technology. Sometimes it’s not about the sexiest solution, but the most pragmatic solution. How might we get emerging designers to be enthusiastic about the impact of those results?

Milda Norkute

What are you studying?

Human Computer Interaction and Design (Master’s) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology

What about design do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the fact that I get to create experiences and products, and help people interact with the world.

What inspired you to pursue design?

I wanted to create things, and I thought that especially coming from a psychology background, understanding how people behave — I could bring that into design to help create really tailored and personzlied experiences.

One word to describe yourself:


Melodie Jacob

What are you studying?

Product and Interaction Design at Pôle supérieur de Design — Villefontaine (France)

What about design do you enjoy?

I like identifying what doesn’t work in our environment/society and try to find ways to improve daily life of people, and making sure the project is very useful for each user.

One word to describe yourself:


Jenn Lee

What are you studying?

User Experience Design (BFA) at Savannah College of Arts and Design

What do you like about design?

I love learning about how the interaction of holistic design principles, emerging technologies, and human emotions can create experiences that bring impact to our lives.

What do you think about the challenge so far?

Being super jet-lagged, it’s been a bit challenging physically, but the atmosphere — everyone is so intelligent, and open-minded. I’m excited about the overall scope of the project, and a big part of growing your mind as a designer involves being out of your comfort zone, which this process and challenge have pushed us to do.

Pathikrit “Po” Bhattacharyya

What are you studying?

Human-Computer Interaction (Master’s) at Carnegie Mellon University

What do you think is the biggest thing missing in design education today?

Discussions about accessibility, environmental sustainability, and audiences in the developing world.

What inspired you to study design?

My desire to create new things, and to give form to ideas every day.

These incredible students will be sharing their final projects Thursday, February 8th at the IxDA Conference. They’ve been working hard all week to address this design challenge:

How can design increase access and reduce friction for the widest number of people? Through a practical given topic, we’ll teach students an approach to understanding and solving for barriers experienced by teachers today.

Check back with us to see who the winning team will be!

BTW: We really asked 26 questions. If you have another one for our finalists, drop it in the comments.

Stay tuned for more updates from IxDA Interaction 18 — by following Microsoft Design on Twitter and Medium.

Read more from the Student Design Challenge.

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