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Student Stories

Fresh Encounters: Ivy Tsang

In the future, freshman Ivy hopes to create anything that has the same capacity of functionality, versatility, and potential for recreation as jazz. In her spotlight, she shares how she focuses on the things she is passionate about: illustration, animation, and Studio Ghibli...

Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy? 

I was solely attracted to the flexibility that the Academy provides to their students within design, technology, and business. I had a hard time selecting majors in other schools, and even when I did find one I was interested in, I would find a completely different one the next day. When I found IYA, it covered all my doubts and I knew this undergrad experience will allow me to explore my passions more deeply with more selective resources.

Describe a passion project you’re currently working? 

I am currently learning how to play jazz piano: New York State of Mind.

What inspired the project?


The intricacies of jazz fascinates me. I hope anything I create in the future can have the same capacity of functionality, versatility, and overall potential for recreation.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you? 


I am definitely inspired by Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter mostly by their keen attention to great craftsmen-ship and their dedication to the underlying human-connection in every narritive they tell. These artists motivate me everyday to be a prolific creator and tell my own stories through what ever media I want.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?


"Wake up lah." This inspirational quote gets me up in the mornings and reminds me to be productive!

What are three goals you have this year?

One of my goals this year is to find many mentors in this school and learn as much as I can from them. I also hope to finally organize a great portfolio because I have always been lousy at accumulating my creations in one place. Lastly, I hope to hike around the LA area as much as I can so I don't put my time here in California to waste.

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?

I can juggle!

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?

My parents taught me not to be greedy, and focus on the things that I am passionate about. It helps me declutter my life, and prioritize my goals.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?

Lotion and an X acto knife.

Favorite app or website?

I love The New Yorker; pushes me to read and its lovely illustrations inspire me everyday.

Favorite class at USC and why?

Really love the Dreams and Madness, a class that Doug Thomas teaches about Hayao Miyazaki Movies! The class reignites my passion for animation and my love for Studio Ghibli.


Favorite way to de-stress:

Play tetris and friends!

Thank you, Ivy!