Student and Alumni Feature: Zachary Leong

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

The Fall semester has officially begun and for this month’s student feature we are spotlighting Zachary Leong, a third-year Industrial Design student at Pratt Institute. This past summer Zachary studied in the Furniture Design Certificate Program at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. As a local to the tri-state area, Zachary was born in New York City and raised just across the Hudson River in the suburbs of New Jersey. Although he spent most of his life growing up in New Jersey, he considers both NYC and Jersey home. Currently Zachary lives in Brooklyn where he does everything from exploring the city to designing in the classroom with his girlfriend, a fellow Pratt student. Tune in below to learn more about Zachary’s journey as a Pratt student and his budding career in the art and design world.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Zachary Leong: I find myself looking to nature as my main source of inspiration. I’m fascinated by what evolution has brought for all sorts of plants and animals and I strive to look for ways to include biomimicry in my designs. If that doesn’t work, the least I’d like to accomplish is to spread my appreciation for nature with everyone else.

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in art or design?

Zachary Leong: I spent my four years in high school specializing in computer science. However, that didn’t quite give me what I was looking for. I wanted to become more involved and hands-on with my work. The answer for me was industrial design. From there I quickly found out that I was able to materialize my ideas while still retaining the design aspect from computer programming. Anyone can learn to code or make a product, but designing robustly and with intent is what I’m after.

Pratt SCPS: What would you consider the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in pursuing this aspiration?

Zachary Leong: My biggest challenge was learning to open myself up – open to trying new things, to finding new methods of building something, and to seeing the world from another point of view. The past year or so I’ve learned to be more outgoing, which is all it took really. One trip to the woodshop by myself led me to learn about all the tools available to me here at Pratt. One “hello” to the classmate sitting next to me showed me a whole different world than that of America. All I had to do was take the first step.

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

Pratt SCPS: What part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most? If you’re still a student what courses have been the most influential?

Zachary Leong: I’m an incoming Junior at Pratt Institute in the Industrial Design program and thinking back to this past year, I’d say that my design courses have been the most influential. They taught me about the practically limitless opportunities and resources that are available to all of us today. I would never have known about the processes that occur to make everything around me possible ranging from an iPhone to a table to a plastic spoon. Having this knowledge helps give me a sense of my potential in this ever-progressing industry.

Pratt SCPS: What advice do you have for creative professionals who desire to launch their own art and design careers or companies in the future?

Zachary Leong: I’d say that the best results can come from the most outrageous ideas. Inspiration is everywhere you look and no thought is too crazy to start off with. Don’t be too quick to dismiss an idea, because as long as you’re doing what you love and you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll end up with something you’re proud of. And hopefully along the way you’ll inspire others to do the same.

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

To learn more about the Furniture Design Certificate Program visit the SCPS website. To stay up to date on student and alumni features from DESIGNTERRA make sure subscribe. Don’t forget to follow Pratt SCPS on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

This Fall at SCPS – A Snapshot of What’s to Come

Courtesy of Karla Alexander

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves begin to change color and the days get shorter which undoubtedly heralds the beginning of the fall season. Although the days will be getting shorter and colder, there are a plethora of exciting events and programs occurring this fall at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies to keep you busy and inspired throughout the fall season.

Last week the fall semester kicked off at Pratt Institute and classes are officially back in session. This semester SCPS is offering an extensive schedule of fall programming for adult learners interested in taking advantage of one of the most lively time periods in New York City. For a complete overview of the fall programs being offered visit  our main website: Certificate Programs.

To accompany your studies this fall why not take advantage of the wide variety of campus events and activities taking place during these next few months at Pratt which include Blue Week, Archtober,  and The Future Of Fragrance panel. Keep reading to learn about a few of the most noteworthy events happening on campus during September and October.

Courtesy of Pratt Institute

The Future of Fragrance

On Wednesday, September 25th at 6:30 pm   The Future of Fragrance Panel will be taking place at the Pratt Manhattan Center. This must-see panel event will feature leading experts in the fragrance industry in a discussion about changes in the fragrance market as it has evolved over many years. Each panelist will be contributing a unique perspective to the discussion based on their individual backgrounds. The four industry experts are: Pamela Vaile, President of Pamela Vaile Consulting LLC; Raymond Matts, the founder of The Art of Perfumery; Raymond Matts, Founder, The Art of Perfumery; Kate Greene, Creative Director of Our House a creative marketing agency that analyzes consumer trends; and Herve Pierini, Head of Sales for Firmenich North America Fine Fragrance.  For more information about this event or to buy tickets to attend: The Future of Fragrance.

Blue Week (October 1st – 6th)

In just a few shorts weeks Blue Week begins at Pratt Institute. Every year at the end of September and beginning of October, Pratt Institute participates in this  week-long event which helps to encourage and support environmental awareness and sustainability. Throughout Blue Week, a schedule of campus-wide events and programs will take place which include panel discussions, film screenings, presentations, yoga classes and much more. The goal of Blue Week is to highlight the global significance of water and the  importance of preserving this vital natural resource as well as encouraging a continual dialogue about the importance of sustainability.  This year’s Blue Week schedule of events includes: Material Modification: Refashioning Ocean Plastics, a panel discussion featuring experts in the design field, Water-Inspired Yoga for the Planet,  and Rising Seas: Gotham on the Edge  a presentation and panel featuring Ted Steinberg. For more information about Blue Week including a list of all of the events taking place visit the Pratt Sustainability Coalition

Courtesy of Daniel Libeskind Studio

Daniel Libeskind: Edge of Order (October 15th)

On October 1st, Archtober commences in New York City.  This year world renowned Architect and Designer, Daniel Libeskind will be a guest speaker at Pratt Institute on October 15th. Libeskind will be discussing his latest projects and his most recent book, Edge of Order.   On top of being a sensational architect and artist, Daniel Libeskind is a visionary whose work has immensely influenced the field of architecture and urban design. One of his countless accomplishments includes being the master planner for the World Trade Center Development.  To hear all about this historic project and more outstanding achievements from Daniel Libeskind and his studio, make sure to reserve a ticket to attend his presentation on October 15th at Pratt.

For more information about events taking place across both the Manhattan and Brooklyn campuses this fall check out the Pratt Events Calendar.

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SCPS Faculty Spotlight: Gabriel Cohen

Courtesy of Gabriel Cohen

For the month of August we are spotlighting esteemed Pratt faculty member, Gabriel Cohen, who teaches undergraduate and continuing education courses at Pratt Institute. This upcoming fall semester, Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) launched the Writers Workspace. A new program geared towards students and creative professionals interested in growing and further developing their writing practice. Beginning on October 2nd, Gabriel will be teaching, 1st Chapters: Start Your Novel, a 10 week course that will focus on guiding and preparing budding novelists in taking the first steps towards composing a novel. It will also be useful for writers who may have written some previous drafts.

As a longtime Pratt faculty member, Gabriel Cohen brings with him an extensive and impressive professional and educational resume. He is the author of a literary novel, four crime novels, and a nonfiction book, and was a finalist for an Edgar award. He has written essays for the New York Times, Poets & Writers, and TimeOut New York just to name a few. He is also in his tenth year at Pratt Institute and has previously taught writing at New York University, the Center for Fiction, and Long Island University. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Gabriel Cohen about his life and career. Tune in below to hear all about his  background in the creative world, his literary accomplishments and his approach to teaching as an educator.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in the creative world?

Gabriel Cohen: I grew up in a family of writers, painters, and filmmakers, so I was exposed to the creative process very early. I studied English in college, then went on to a stint as a musician and songwriter, and did freelance journalism for a weekly newspaper. I shifted to writing mostly novels because I find it enormously satisfying to imagine characters, places, and stories, and then use craft to make them come alive for readers. I love how both fiction and nonfiction promote a deeper engagement with the world and with other human beings. (I especially love researching and writing about New York.)

Pratt SCPS: What would you say have been your greatest professional achievements so far?

Gabriel Cohen: I was excited to write features about this city for the New York Times, including articles about con artists who actually “sold” the Brooklyn Bridge, and about the brash Comments sections on neighborhood blogs. And I was proud to publish five novels, but an especially satisfying aspect of my career was publishing a nonfiction book about how to survive divorce, and then getting letters from total strangers around the world who said that it helped them get through tough times.

Courtesy of David Iskander

Pratt SCPS: When did your Pratt journey begin and what has it been like?

Gabriel Cohen: I am beginning my tenth year of teaching at Pratt. I have enjoyed helping Writing Program students improve their craft, introducing freshman students to nonfiction through explorations of New York City*, and learning about design myself when I teach thesis writing to graduate Design students.

*For example, I take them on a field trip to write about the Fulton Mall. I ask them if they could write about the city if they were deaf and blind, and then I read them an amazing essay by Helen Keller in which she did just that.

Pratt SCPS: What has been the most important lesson for you as an educator in this field?

Gabriel Cohen: I believe that as a professor I have a responsibility to always keep working on learning about education and improving my teaching technique. It doesn’t matter how good a writer someone might be if they can’t help students learn the craft. I started a program at Pratt to enable teachers to get together for informal meetings to share tips about how we can improve as educators.

I teach that writing is an act of communication as well as self-expression, and that as writers we have to learn craft in order to be able to provide vivid, engrossing experiences for readers.

Pratt SCPS: What upcoming courses will you be teaching at Pratt?

Gabriel Cohen: I’ll be teaching a freshman Studio writing course and a novel-writing course for undergraduates, as well as this adult course for the School of Continuing and Professional studies.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gabriel Cohen’s upcoming course at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies visit the main website. Make sure to  subscribe to our blog stay up to date on all of the upcoming features!


The Student Leadership Team behind the PreCollege Summer Program

(from left back row, Sam, Madison, Veronica, from left front row, Janelle, Eva, Laura, Moby & Urva) – Courtesy of Sam Stuart

The PreCollege Summer Program wrapped up a few weeks ago, however it would not have been a resounding success without the dedication and hard work of this summer’s Pratt PreCollege staff and leadership team. The Pratt PreCollege Summer Program is a month long academic program geared to high schools. It’s a wonderful opportunity for close to 400 students to explore  their interests in art and design and to get a glimpse into what the college experience is really like. At the conclusion of the program students receive elective college credits and have the honor of showcasing all of their hard work in a Final Exhibition. In recognition of the successful end to another exceptional PreCollege Summer Program, we’ve chosen to spotlight the amazing contributions made by the Pratt PreCollege leadership team this summer.

The leadership team was comprised of eight current Pratt Institute students. Each team leader had an extremely active role in all facets of this summer’s program. As a group, the leaders were responsible for their individual roles and duties which included student advisement, coordinating operations, field trips, cultural excursions and additional activities, as well as overseeing the mentors. There were over 30 student mentors this summer all of whom are Pratt Institute students. Who better than Pratt students to mentor, guide and advise PreCollege students about the Pratt experience. Being a part of the PreCollege Summer Program is an experience like no other. Current Pratt students are able to gain highly useful skills that will guide them in both their academic and professional careers.

In recognition of their invaluable contributions to the success of this summer’s PreCollege Program, we’d like to introduce you to the dream team that helped to make this summer’s program a truly exceptional and memorable experience for our PreCollege high school students. Meet Eva, Veronica, Urva, Samuel, Madison, Moby, Janelle and Laura, the Pratt students who helped to coordinate  and oversee various aspects of both the academic and activity related components of this summer’s program. This leadership team had an integral role in making sure all facets of the PreCollege Summer Program came together seamlessly and provided invaluable support to the PreCollege Office staff.

Courtesy of Sam Stuart

Here’s a quick breakdown of each other the leadership team members and their individual roles this summer. For this summer’s PreCollege program, the leadership team was divided into two additional teams within the main team that would be responsible for specific aspects of the program.  The subdivisions were categorized into areas of focus: academics and activities. Team leaders that were a part of the academic team were responsible for coordinating the academic side of the PreCollege program which included student advisement, studio operations, faculty and student support in the classroom and studio space, and assigning mentors to groups of PreCollege students based on their art and design concentrations groups.

The  academic team leaders were the following Pratt students: Veronica, (Grad student, Art Therapy & Creativity Development), Urva (Grad student, Communication Design), Samuel (Senior, Photography Major) and Eva (Sophomore, COMD Graphic Design). Eva a sophomore in the COMD Graphic Design Program was the Design & Operations Coordinator in the PreCollege Summer Program. Her responsibilities included providing design support to the PreCollege office and in addition to this coordinating various operations and working with other team leaders to insure that all aspects of the program ran effectively on a daily basis.

Also providing operational support in this summer’s program was Samuel, a senior in the Photography program. Samuel’s role this summer was being the Studio Mentor Coordinator. Throughout the summer program the PreCollege students would be immersed in a full day of course work and in the evenings they would attend studio space sessions where they had the opportunity to continue to work on art and design projects. As the Studio Mentor Coordinator, it was Samuel responsibility to coordinate which mentors would be assigned to oversee and lead specific studio space sessions based on subject concentrations.

Courtesy of Pratt PreCollege

One important facet of the PreCollege Summer program is ensuring that all of the students have adequate support and resources. Occasionally students requested or needed advisement for a variety of reasons and two of the members of the PreCollege leadership team were responsible for connecting students with the appropriate on campus resources in order to ensure they received advisement and support were Veronica and Urva. Veronica,  a graduate student in the Art Therapy & Creativity Development Master’s program, and Urva a graduate student in the Graduate Communication Design program, both had the role of being Graduate  Assistant Student Advisers. Their contributions to this program included being a resource for students  needing advisement, faculty, coordinating and managing mentors, and providing support to their other team members.

The leadership team members that were a part of the activities team this summer included the following Pratt students:  Madison (Undergraduate student) Laura (Senior, Art History Major), Janelle (Senior, 2D Animation Major), Moby (Senior, 2D Animation Major). Each of these team members were responsible for coordinating the field trips, cultural excursions and additional activities for this summer’s program. They also coordinated and managed the mentors assigned to each field trip and excursion and provided additional support to both PreCollege office, faculty and students.

Laura, a senior in the Art History program and Madison an undergraduate student, were the Art, History and Culture coordinators in the program this summer. They were responsible for coordinating the cultural excursions and assigned mentors to guide PreCollege students during on campus and off campus museum trips which included visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Guggenheim.  Janelle and Moby, both seniors in the 2D Animation program, were the Activities Coordinators this summer.  They helped to support this summer’s program through scheduling and coordinating field trips and weekend activities which include trips to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Governors Island.

Courtesy of Pratt PreCollege

Although this summer’s program has come to a conclusion, the contributions of each of the Pratt student leadership team members was essential to ensuring that the PreCollege students had a rewarding experience in the program. These leadership team members not only contributed a great deal through their hard work and dedication, but they were able to gain invaluable organizational, interpersonal and teamwork skills that they will be able apply to both their academic and professional careers.

To learn more about the Pratt PreCollege Program  visit our website. To stay up to date on the latest student features from  DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe. Don’t forget to follow Pratt PreCollege on social media: Facebook, Instagram.

Student and Alumni Feature: Meric Anavi

Meric Anavi

This month we are spotlighting Meric Anavi, Interior Design student from Istanbul, Turkey, and alumnus of Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. This summer Meric earned his certificate in furniture design after completing the Furniture Design Certificate Program at SCPS. This extensive certificate program allowed Meric the opportunity to expand his knowledge and artistry in both furniture and interior design. Living in New York City and unraveling the design industry in this sprawling metropolis has been both a rewarding and rich experience for Meric. In many ways the vibrancy and restlessness of NYC mirrors the spirit of his own hometown in Istanbul. Tune in below to learn more about Meric’s journey through Pratt, his professional and educational experiences, as well as the challenges he has faced navigating through the design world.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Meric Anavi: I don’t believe there is a limit to inspiration. I am inspired by objects, light, angles, shadows etc. Life is my source of inspiration. I can create designs based on a sound or light that I encountered years ago. I love nature and scenery. Nature is an artistic composition of extraordinary perspectives. It is a piece of art.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in art and design?

Meric Anavi: I spent my childhood making drawings in class. I never valued success that much in school, what satisfied me was drawing. My family espoused that I had to get a rigorous education in order to be successful, yet time showed me that success meant doing what I desired, which is creating.

Pratt SCPS: What would you consider the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in pursuing this aspiration?

Meric Anavi: It’s natural that learning varies from person to person. What I always wanted to improve myself on was drawing, yet I was constantly told that success in life came upon traditional and normative learning. Success was defined as passing the classes that were thrown at me. In order to escape this belief I equipped myself with skills outside of school. What was most difficult for me was to psychologically escape the belief that success comes with basic education.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

In high school I enrolled in a studio which showed me that school was whatever I wanted it to be and I finally discovered that drawing is what motivates me to learn. Thanks to the time I spent at the studio I was able to deconstruct these social dogmas on success. Despite the imposition of education, I don’t believe it is harmful. On the contrary, if I had not had to pass the classes I took so far with such a rigorous grading system, I would not have the ambition and desire I have now.

Pratt SCPS: What part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most?

Meric Anavi: Pratt was like a new beginning in my life. For the first time, I felt I achieved something tangible. Getting my furniture design certificate is a novelty that I am beyond proud of. What I had designed or drawn prior to Pratt stayed on paper as just designs.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

At Pratt I learned about the intricacies of executing a design and how a mental design translates as a real life product. This was a challenging yet rewarding process. I learned how to manipulate designs to render them functional.

Pratt SCPS: What advice do you have for creative professionals who desire to launch their own art and design careers or companies in the future?

Meric Anavi: My advice would be to never lose your ambition and desire. Working on yourself psychologically will always keep you steps ahead in whatever field you are working on. Creating a product that reflects the true you is incredibly satisfying. You end up creating something you get to call “mine”. You shouldn’t fear the hard work that needs to go in to the creation of great things as the product of your work will be worth the effort. You should always be open to learning and change. This is how I believe you get ahead in life.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

To learn more about the Furniture Design Certificate Program visit the SCPS website. To stay up to date on student and alumni features from  DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe. Don’t forget to follow Pratt SCPS on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.