Showcasing Chinese Culture in New York City
Mingzhe Li (M.A. ’16) is no stranger to exploring career paths through a cultural lens. A native of Urumqi, China— a multi-ethnic city—she moved to Shanghai and pursued event planning, photography, and videography for five years before moving to New York City in 2014. She obtained her M.A. in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology in 2016 and, after graduating, pursued a yearlong internship with SinoVision, a U.S.-based Chinese language television network. “This internship was a great opportunity and was introduced to me by my New York Tech classmates,” she says. During this internship, Mingzhe was exposed to the world of design and was inspired to continue her education. “The admissions team was very helpful with my application and in providing scholarship opportunities which made New York Tech my top choice,” says Li, who enrolled in the digital art and design – graphic design program.
“Art is about personal expression and exposure to different cultures. Many of my design inspirations come from the cultural diversity of China and America. My hometown has a large Muslim population, which is a religious minority in China. Persian and traditional Chinese cultures merge here as well,” she says. While being inspired by the cultural diversity around her, she spends some of her free time volunteering at The United Nations Chinese consulate, where she helps design dance-performance backdrops and does the video edits for the filming of those performances. In 2018, she helped arrange a photo exhibition at the U.N. that focused on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Shortly after, Consul General Ping Huang of the Chinese Consulate in New York presented her with an award for her design strategy. “The skills I learned at New York Tech help me while planning and executing the events at the U.N. from a design and digital art perspective,” she says.
When Li isn’t in class or volunteering at the U.N., she works part-time as a graduate assistant at New York Tech’s English Language Institute, where she translates coursework for Chinese-speaking students who are still learning English. She also creates artwork in the form of posters, pictures, and brochures to help communicate the basics of life in New York City to new students.
Li hopes that after graduation, she can continue to work in an environment focused on Chinese culture. “I would like to be more involved with the production of Chinese performances and concentrate on program, stage, and poster design. I hope that I can incorporate my photography and videography work into these productions and use the skills from both of my degrees.”