Alumni Spotlight: Ming Thompson
PRINCIPAL AND FOUNDER, ATELIER CHO THOMPSON
Yali Middle School, 2004-2006
Where you do currently work and what does your job entail?
I work at Atelier Cho Thompson, a design and concept firm I founded with a partner. We work between architecture, interior design, graphic design and strategy.
Did you consider graduate school over the YCF? If so, why did you choose to wait and go on the Fellowship?
I always planned to take a couple years off from design before attending architecture school. This time helped me clarify what I wanted in a graduate program. I also knew that once I went to grad school, I would work in architecture for the rest of my life,
so this was an opportunity to do something completely different in a new part of the world!
During my time in Yale-China, I put together my portfolio and application, and I started at the Harvard Graduate School of Design when I returned to the U.S. I lived in a house in Cambridge with two other returning Fellows, one was doing a PhD in Political Science at MIT and one doing a Masters in Education at Harvard.
Do you see the YCF in your life today? If yes, how so?
I definitely see the effects of the Fellowship on my life today, even though I don't do any professional work in China. My co-fellows from Yali Middle School are like my brothers and sisters. It's a remarkable experience to spend such an intensive time with a group of people, living and working together, going on great adventures and learning the craft of teaching. I always tell people that
the greatest lasting impact of being at Yale is getting to know the incredible students around you, and the program is a chance to extend that remarkable period of your life and to spend it with an incredible group of Fellows.
Fellows go on to be global leaders in their fields; each bringing some aspect of our Yale-China experience to fields like medicine, technology, art and social justice. Among my Yali cohort members are founders of high-impact social entrepreneurship startups, lawyers working on civil rights, doctors, physicists and professors.
What would you say to a student nervous about teaching?
Teaching is made up of skills that will serve you well in whatever field you choose to pursue.
You will learn to communicate complex ideas in a clear way and how to lead and engage groups of people. Yale-China did a great job of preparing us to go into the field, and with a two-year commitment,
you have the resources of senior fellows to guide you in your early days.
would you recommend this experience to another Yale student/alumnus?
Yes, without question. My time with Yale-China has been among the best years of my life. Living in China enriched my work as an architect, and