Xinyi Wang ’24 is creating a FoodAI system

decorative graphic of a student

When you meet Xinyi Wang, the first trait you will notice about her is her radiant smile and positive attitude. Her wonderful personality radiates into every activity she participates in. Xinyi, 24’, is an Industrial and Interactive Design major with a minor in marketing. Her passion to become a design major started when she found her love for solving problems and learning to navigate different ways to reach her end goal. She is from Mongolia, China, and has lived there most of her life. When she was going into her high school years, she moved to the United States and finished her high school diploma in California. After, she decided to attend Syracuse because of the student opportunities it had, and she knew she could explore different areas of study.

On campus, Xinyi is very involved and continually keeping herself busy. She was a representative for Women in Design, which is a program that promotes women’s rights in design. Her love for design and her love to help groups made this club perfect to express her talents in problem-solving. Furthermore, she is in IDSA, Industrial Designers Society of America, which provides multiple opportunities for design students to display their skills and working on a variety of different activities. In the past, she has also worked with start-up business to help them grow by providing her knowledge to hopefully see them become successful. As a result of all her activities, Xinyi has grown immensely, not only as a student but as a person.

Currently, she is participating in DES 400, Inclusive design with Don Carr. This course connects design students and allows them to help solve a difficulty that students with disabilities face on a day-to-day basis. It is part of the Intelligence ++ Program, and Xinyi is currently working directly with a student, Shawn, to create a program that allows him to make his lunches on his own.

Since August, Xinyi and her team have been working countless hours to create the best program to help Shawn. She is creating a FoodAI system through meal prep. They have worked closely with Shawn and his father to brainstorm different methods that would best suit him. For example, they started with printing off pictures of food that Shawn uses every Tuesday night to make his tacos for dinner. In class, they tested their first idea by allowing Shawn to move these pictures on to the taco shell as if he was building his own taco. After, they collaborated more ideas that led them to understand that Shawn responds well to his father’s voice. Thus, they had his parents make a video of them creating a taco at home and the following week Shawn attempted to make his own taco through watching the video. As the team predicted this would be successful, they ran into a road bump. Since the food provided to test their idea was not identical to the products used at home, he had a hard time making his taco. Although this has been a slight set back in their progress, Xinyi is determined to solve it. Hopefully they can open it to other individuals with disabilities and add features that include navigating around food allergies in the future.

Xinyi is empathic, determined, and has a strong passion for helping others. Between her personality and her strong skill set of solving tech problems and contributing well in her group, there is nothing she can’t do. In her future, she aspires to create her own UX design company and be a manger. Lastly, she wants to make a lifelong impact to severing those with disabilities. She has a lot on her plate, but there is nothing Xinyi can’t do.

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Story by Sydney Grosso ’23 Zaccai Foundation Fellow, Policy Studies & Public Health