Senior Spotlight: Ben Choe '18

Whether it's in skateboarding or in life, senior Ben Choe knows how to pivot.  Here, he shares how a once-aspiring marine biologist changed course to launch a digital fashion showroom solution.

Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
I’ve always been excited about emerging technology and was particularly interested in 3D printing during my junior year of high school.  During this time, I attended a summer course at USC in 3D printing, modeling and animation. While I was applying to colleges, my friend told me about the USC Iovine and Young Academy. It immediately sparked my interest because of its expansive and unique course list, the Garage Experience, and of course Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Originally, I had applied to biology and marine biology schools but my portfolio, which included an assortment of 3D animations, C++ games, and my skateboard videos, got me an interview with the Academy — it’s been a wild ride since.

What project are you working on right now?
I’m currently working with another Academy senior, Sarah Allen on our Garage Experience (GX) capstone project IN/LINE, which is a digital tool to streamline the wholesale showroom experience for fashion brands and retailers. Sarah and I had been brainstorming ideas for our GX project since May 2017 and we always knew we wanted to work on something related to fashion and e-commerce. In mid-September, Sarah and I had the opportunity to work at a fashion luxury brand’s Market Week showroom and got a firsthand glimpse into the backend fashion industry. After our internship, we quickly realized how inefficient and unorganized this wholesale buying process was and that there was an opportunity to create a digital solution. We quickly pivoted our idea after this experience and have since been conducting primary research with industry veterans and developing mockups to validate our concept.

I am also a freelance photographer, specializing in 35mm 3D stereoscopic photos and developing an AR-enabled fashion line with other USC students.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
Kevin Abstract

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
"Idleness is the holiday of fools.”  - A fortune cookie

What advice would you give to a freshman?
Try EVERYTHING. If you’re unhappy, don’t do it. Get outside of USC and explore LA.

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you? 
I'm an introvert. I recharge by being alone.

What is the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Nothing is free. 


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Headphones, external hard drive, wallet, notebook, folder, phone charger, pens, laptop, sunglasses.

Favorite app or website?
Genius (Prev. Rap Genius)

Favorite class at USC and why?
Exploring Augmented Reality (IML 475). You get to build an experience for the Microsoft HoloLens and learn everything about the emerging industry from the veterans that have been in it since the beginning.

Favorite way to de-stress:

Guilty pleasure?
Taylor Swift.

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