Travis Ng

Travis Ng's power portrait

Dean's Scholar

Major: Industrial Design
College of Humanities & the Arts

Why did you choose your major?

I chose industrial design as my major because I’ve always loved to make things. Ever since I was a kid, I loved to get hands-on with crafts and different art projects in school. As a child growing up with a speech impairment, being involved with art was my way of communicating to others when my verbal skills were not up to par. Essentially, making and designing was my way of problem solving. When my high school digital arts teacher saw that I enjoyed making things, she recommended industrial design as a college major. With industrial design, I saw my opportunity to incorporate my interest in art with the practicality of solving real-world problems. And although this major has been rigorous from the start, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

For me, this award is proof that I am capable of achieving what the expectations of a college student should be and more. It is a reminder of the hard work I put forth and a source of inspiration to continue with my studies with more motivation. Most importantly, this award also shows how my family, friends, colleagues and professors have been an integral part of my studies and achievements, which makes this award theirs as much as it is mine. 

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life?  In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

Although many people have had a great influence in my life, my family is definitely on the top of the list. Since day one, they have supported and encouraged me to do my best. My parents and grandma always had faith in my abilities and pushed me to excel. My brothers kept me grounded as I progressed through college. And my girlfriend, who has been my co-pilot throughout my college career, has always been a helping hand, a source of comfort, and my greatest source of inspiration.

All of the professors and instructors in the industrial design program have helped shape my academic success in one way or another. It’s impossible for me to just name one person. Professor’s John McClusky, Leslie Speer and Joshua Nelson have guided me through the program, helped me when needed and even offered me the opportunity to help establish the ID labs for the industrial design department. They taught their classes with high standards and pushed me to work harder than I ever had before. They also showed me how there is a level of professionalism needed in this major, but to not forget your own personality. All of the instructors I had classes with were all one of a kind, as well as inspiring regarding the pursuit of industrial design, making me want to pursue it more every day. Although not directly related to industrial design, my boss and co-workers in the Art Department Tool Shop were as helpful as my professors, always supportive and always willing to help. 

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

A major turning point that made me who I am today was when I finally got over my personal anxiety during the first years of college. Being in this new environment, I had dragged along my personal issues that I thought I had left behind. During the first years of industrial design, I was concerned about whether or not this was the major I wanted and changing the set schedule I had been used to all my life. With the help of family and friends, and especially my girlfriend, I was able to learn how important it was to let go of personal issues I was subconsciously dragging along. From that, I was able to focus better in my studies and began enjoying my college education, as well as build better relationships with people. I still get anxiety every now and then, but it’s more manageable and I use it to push myself further with my studies.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I usually tell incoming and newer industrial design students: Be prepared to work hard but have fun. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and do what you can to help others. In spite of the challenging path ahead, we are all in the same boat, so don’t worry about where you are and keep going. 

What makes you a Spartan?

What makes me a Spartan is my willingness to help, being a source of inspiration, if possible, having the will to move forward in spite of how hard it can be, being responsible for my actions and being passionate about what I do. I hope by the time I finish my college career I have at least helped inspire students to tell new, incoming students to help whenever they can and continue encouraging others to keep going.


Nominated by Professor Josh Nelson, Industrial Design
“Travis deserves this in recognition of his dedication and incredible work ethic. He spends a lot of his time outside of school helping his family with their independent business. While at school he works two jobs on campus and manages to maintain an excellent academic record and perform well in his major specific classes. Additionally he dedicates significant amounts of time to help out other students in our program.”