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From PSU to MIT

Kwan-Yue Chan, a graduating PSU architecture student, has been accepted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Chan said he received the award letter on April 1, which he thought was an April Fool’s joke, but it was not. Chan will move to Boston this fall and starts the three-year master’s in architecture program there.

Chan will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture this June.

Chan said he applied to the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and University of Washington as well. He said he was also accepted to these three institutions, but decided to attend MIT.

Chan’s reason for wanting to pursue the master’s degree in architecture is to get more exposure to the field and he said the master’s program at MIT is more structured.

“Architecture is very subjective. Students need to have opportunities to explore,” Chan said.

In addition, to be licensed as an architect, you have to go through an accredited program.

All his life Chan was interested in music. He has played the piano since he was five and played the violin in high school along with participating in the choir. He also participated in the PSU choir for a year.

But at the end of his high school experience at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, Wash. Chan found his niche.

During a career day in high school, Chan said he learned about architecture; his father’s friend, an architect in Hong Kong inspired him.

“He’s been my role model,” Chan said.

Chan said Portland State offered him a great opportunity. The different design medium allowed him to explore more, and “the faculty members are open-minded, letting the students explore.”

Although he had many wonderful instructors, Chan said Clive Knights, associate professor for architecture and Rudolph Barton, associate professor of archaeology were the two faculty members who stood out to him.

“Clive has been a great inspirer,” Chan said.

As for Barton, Chan said he introduced him to “big names” from the lecture circuit in the architectural field.

“He’s the type of person to talk to when I’m lost. He gives you suggestions rather than tell you what to do,” Chan said about Barton.

The faculty members also think of Chan in a positive light.

“One of the qualities I really admire about Kwan is that he can be very serious, but then within a second or so he can be playful until he has a very positive, fun outlook about how he approaches his education,” Barton commented.

“He’s a really wonderful student,” Barton concluded.

Knights said Chan has a “very studious attitude toward design studio in terms of research and imagination. He thinks long and hard about the issues he’s dealing with in the studio. That translates into his graphics, modeling modes which are exceptional.”

Chan said his peers are also great in terms of talking to and understanding one another. This experience with his peers is something that Chan said he would carry on through life.

Chan has been active at Portland State. He has been involved with the American Institute of Architecture Students at PSU for three years and was the president for two years.

In addition, he is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.Although Chan certainly knows which direction he is heading this fall, he said he’s not sure what specifically he wants to do in the field.

“Whatever happens, happens.”