In the Spring, when the roses were in bloom, interior designer Shu Yee Chin often enjoyed strolling around campus. She has fond memories of lunch with friends between classes, the feel of paint and charcoal as she immersed herself in her drawing and painting courses and sitting next to the tall library windows looking over the Peace Garden while delving into her studies.
These types of artistic observations and material focus give her the ability to take an interior design project and create impact through thoughtful consideration of an area while meeting the specific needs of the client, society and environment.
“The process of crafting and visioning unique stories through the manipulation of space and spatial characteristics is what I have a great passion for,” Chin explained.
Following her graduation in May, Chin was hired at HLW International, a design company with four offices across the United States and one office in London. They serve significant clients such as Amazon, Google, BMW and Hilton, just to name a few. As a Junior Interior Designer in the Los Angeles office, Chin develops design concepts, renders drawings and 3D visualizations, prepares design presentations and construction documents under the guidance of associate and senior designers. The high level of detail also means she works to solve design problems and select the materials used in the projects.
“It’s impressive that Shu Yee has been hired as a junior Interior Designer by HLW, LA. The company is an international architectural firm dating back to the 1880s. Their headquarters are in New York City, with offices in London and Shanghai. HLW has designed buildings and a campus for 20th Century Fox and, most recently, Google’s East Coast Headquarters,” said Interior Design Professor Holly Sowles.
“It has always been a dream of mine to pursue my career in a medium to large firm and in a city that offers greater opportunities. I am very excited to start my post-graduate journey here at HLW and surround myself with more like-minded individuals,” said Chin.
From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chin went to high school at SMK Taman Connaught. She came to Fresno State as an international student majoring in interior design. When she arrived, Chin was out of her comfort zone, but between the resources for students and professors who guided her towards her goals, she was able to thrive.
“I chose to pursue my degree at Fresno State due to the variety of resources it offers that best fit my needs including availability of courses that pertains to my interests, strategic location in Central California, affordability, variety of educational and financial resources, and its appreciation of diversity across the campus,” Chin explained.
Chin became a student member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) through the interior design program. The experience allowed her to be surrounded by other like-minded students who motivated each other’s growth. It gave her access to seminars, virtual courses and the opportunity to be a part of a bigger community. She also found inspiration through the stories of industry leaders.
Chin says she was influenced by many of her professors throughout her time at Fresno State. Chief among them, she credits Sowles with consistently providing her valuable support and guidance.
“She was one of the first professors that I had my freshman year preliminary design courses with and since then, she has been very helpful in giving me advice, technical support, and industry knowledge that are all essential to prepare myself for my career in interior design,” said Chin.
Sowles was also her mentor in the College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program, where Chin impressed attendees with her stunning capstone project, “Urban Cultural Oasis.” Her design, based in Oakland, envisioned an arts and culture center that creates a therapeutic environment for city dwellers to relax and heal from their stressful routines.
“Shu Yee’s passion for her vocation and her pursuit of excellence inspires the students in the Interior Design program,” said Sowles.
While at Fresno State, Chin received financial support from the College of Arts and Humanities Dean’s Council scholarship, the Dean’s Scholarship Tuition Waiver, Diversity in Study Abroad Grant and the Carroll Moon scholarship.
“They were a tremendous help in making a difference in my education. They have helped me to go through financial hardships and gave me the opportunity to study abroad and experience education from different perspectives,” Chin said.
Chin was on the President’s List from Fall 2017 through Spring 2021. She received the 2021 International Student Service Award for her contributions in educational endeavors and community involvement, capping off her rewarding time at Fresno State.