June He is an Assistant Professor of Product Design at Westphal College of Media Arts and Design in Drexel University. She is a multifaceted designer, artist and researcher with extensive industry experience. Her passion and work focus on aging and relevant design innovation, Co-Design practices with community partners, and expertise in eyewear-based products. She uses empathic modeling and participatory design to help increase mobility for students with disabilities and explores the design opportunity at the intersection of gender, immigrant, and cultural identity. June is currently leading Aging + Design courses & research projects for cross-disciplinary students at Drexel University and older adults in Philadelphia’s Asian communities.
June He has collaborated with many colleagues from a variety of fields, including VR, Nursing and Healthcare, Biomedical Engineering, and community partners. Her team received the 2022 AgeFriendly Pilot Grant from Drexel University’s AgeWell Collaboratory, which laid the groundwork for creating a community-based aging-relevant design framework and effective measures. Her team produced peer-reviewed publications and conference speeches including topics like Design Thinking in Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Transformative Learning Pedagogy, and Co-Design with Older Immigrants in Philadelphia.
As the executive director of the Empathic CoDesign Lab at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, June initiates and supports design projects that celebrate diversity, equality, fairness, and inclusion for our community members. The lab aims to increase the awareness of the voices and needs of marginalized communities and create innovative solutions with them instead of for them. Her team collaborates with interdisciplinary faculty and researchers across the United States, local non-profit community partners, and oversea universities. Her team conducts in-person and virtual workshops, public-facing exhibitions, design symposiums and seminars, and the Aging + Design course series. In 2023, as the primary investigator, she received a VentureWell program and course grant to support an enhancement to her existing community-based co-design program and Aging+Design course series. In this program, interdisciplinary students will collaborate with local older immigrants to develop and commercialize innovative solutions for the aging community.
Originally from China, June holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Design from Jiangnan University and a Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Master of Fine Arts | Industrial Design | Aug. 2007 - May 2009
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) | Champaign, IL
Creative & Performing Arts Fellowship
Bachelor of Engineering | Industrial Design | Sep. 2002 - Jun. 2007
Jiangnan University | Wuxi, China
National Fellowship for Outstanding Student
Advanced Study | Jewelry Fabrication, Metal Work, Men’s Wear | 2016 - 2018
Fashion Institute of Technology | New York City, NY
Advanced Study | Printmaking | 2019 - 2020
The Art Students League of New York | New York City, NY
Selected Peer-Reviewed Paper:
He J, Dao K, Zhu Z, Jordan T, Ghazi J, Kaur A. Making Diverse Voices Heard: Building Community-Based Co-Design Projects with older Asian Communities in Philadelphia. In: Proceedings of International Design Conference & IDSA Education Symposium, USA. 2022. Available from: https://www.idsa.org/educationpaper/making-diverse-voices-heard
He J. Design Thinking in Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Creating Innovative Solutions for Students' Community. Francisco Rebelo (eds) Ergonomics In Design. AHFE (2022) International Conference. AHFE Open Access, vol 47. AHFE International, USA. 2022. Available from: http://doi.org/10.54941/ahfe1001967
He J. Heightened Sensitivity to the Material Landscape of Chinese Women Living in America. Aesthetic and Times. 2014; (552):23-27.
McDonagh D, Thomas J, Chen S, He J, Hong Y, Zhang Z, Pena-Mora F. Empathic Design Research: Disability + Relevant Design. 8th European Academy of Design Conference. Design Connexity; 2009; Aberdeen, Scotland.
Selected Invited Speaking and Invited Panel Participation:
Conference Presentation | Seventeenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices | Portugal, March 2023
Title of the speech: Communication Beyond Language: Using Participatory Design Toolkits to Transcend Lingual, Cultural and Technical Barriers
Workshop Presentation | On Aging by American Society on Aging | Atlanta, March 2023
Title of the workshop: Intergenerational and Cross-Cultural Co-Design with Older Asian Adults
Conference Presentation | Design Forge | Elon University, NC, March 2023
Title of the event: Cocreate Beyond Cultural Barriers: Intergenerational Collaboration with Local Immigrant Aging Communities
Conference Paper Presentation (upcoming) | AHFE (2023) International | San Francisco, July 2023
Title of the speech: Eyewear Design: The Journey to Improve Fitting for a Diverse Population
Main Stage Speaker | International Design Conference & IDSA Education Symposium | Seattle, United States | September 2022
Title of the speech: Making Diverse Voices Heard - Building Community-Based Co-Design Projects with Older Asian Communities in Philadelphia
Conference Speaker | Transformative Teaching - Focus on Pedagogy, Amps | 2022
Title of the speech: Transformative Learning: Developing Community-based Participatory Design Pedagogy with Interdisciplinary College Students. Available from: https://youtu.be/kyHWw6hmOk8
Guest Speaker and Panel Discussion | University of Pennsylvania | June 2022
Guest speaker for course CMED6909 - Comparing systems of elder care and NURS535 – Penn Comparative Elder Care. Invited by Professor SH Kagan, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Guest Speaker and Critic | Auburn University | March 2022
Guest Speaker and critic for Industrial Design Studio Course INDD3210 Design Studio. Invited by Assistant Professor Joyce Thomas, School of Industrial and Graphic Design
Guest Speaker | Drexel University | January 2022
Guest speaker for course DSRE 635 Translational Design Research. Invited by Associate Professor D. S. Nicholas.
PIVOT Culture | R-Lab Collaboration with University of Edinburg | 2021
Virtual Guest Lecturing for art & design graduate students at the University of Edinburg during the pandemic. Q & A with graduate students in their program. Video and bi-lingual transcript link: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/rlab/category/programme/
Virtual Author Reading and Activity | Brooklyn Public Library | New York City, NY | 2021
Recorded and edited virtual learning videos for the library to host on their website during the pandemic.
Event Link: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/author-reading-and-virtual-20210210
Virtual Artist talk at Drawing Rooms | Jersey City, NJ | 2021
Video Link: https://www.drawingrooms.org/uploads/b/99507320-750824726213796728/zoom_0_213.mp4
Virtual Artist talk at Barrett Art Center / Dutchess County Art Association | Poughkeepsie, NY | 2020
Video Link: https://www.facebook.com/DCAAbarrett/videos/1717086755126369
Virtual Storytelling and Drawing Workshop | New York Public Library | New York City, NY | 2020
Recorded and edited virtual learning video for NYPL to host on their website during the pandemic.
Video Link: https://vimeo.com/449013544
Guest speaker for The New York Association of Chinese Women Writers | New York City, NY | 2020
Video Link: https://youtu.be/432hLnDttxc
Storytelling and Drawing Workshop | Queens Public Library | Queens, NY | About 45 students | 2019
I told stories based on my new picture book and demonstrated drawing skills with students. Each student created their drawing and received my feedback. The workshop lasted about one hour.
Chinese Author Talk Series (XII) | Queens Public Library | Flushing, NY | About 75 Attendance | 2016
I shared with the audience my creative process of writing a fiction book about immigrants’ life in New York City. There was a Q & A session to interact with readers.
Instructor for Teen Design Fair | Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum | NYC | 300 Attendance | 2015
As a representative of a top designer working in the fields of industrial design, I mentored and advised teens who were interested in art & design for their future career choice.
Industrial Design Lecture | Jiangnan University | Wuxi, China | About 55 students | 2010
Hosted lecture and discussion sessions with undergraduate and graduate students from the Industrial Design program.
The Art Pollinator: A Guide to Discover Inspirations in Everyday Life
June HE. (2021). New York: June He Publication (non-fiction)
Creative Works of Fiction:
Kaia and Tutu’s Journey to the World
June HE. (2019). New York: June He Publication (Children’s Picture Book)
June HE (2016). Beijing: China translation and publishing Corporation (Fiction Book about immigrants’ life in NYC)
Executive Director of Empathic CoDesign Lab
Empathic CoDesign Lab at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design initiates and supports design projects that celebrate diversity, equality, fairness, and inclusion for our community members. Our research focus is on aging and relevant design innovation, Co-Design practices with community partners, and Design Thinking methods and Human-Centered Design practices for interdisciplinary learners. We aim to increase the awareness of the voices and needs of marginalized communities and create innovative solutions with them instead of for them. Our team collaborates with interdisciplinary faculty and researchers across the United States, local non-profit community partners, and oversea research institutions. We conduct in-person and virtual workshops, public-facing exhibitions, design symposiums and seminars, and the Aging + Design course series.
$30,000 External Funding
Role: Principal Investigator
VentureWell Course & Program Grant, from VentureWell. Co-PI Catherine Quay, MSN, RN-BC, CNE and Co-PI Arun Ramakrishnan, Ph.D.
$10,000 Internal Funding
Role: Principal Investigator
Age-Friendly Drexel Pilot Grant, from Drexel University’s AgeWell Collaboratory. Co-PI Catherine Quay, MSN, RN-BC, CNE
$7500 Internal Funding
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Rankin Scholar-in-Residence Application. PI D.S. Nicholas, NCIDQ, AIA; Co-PI Joseph Hancock III, PhD; Co-PI Clare Sauro; University Partners: Dr.Yvonne Michael, ScD Dornsife School of Public Health, Dr. Kevin Egan, PhD Pennoni Honors College, Dr. Jordan Fischer, Esq. Kline School of Law
$600 Internal Funding
Role: Principal Investigator
Westphal Mini Grant
Research-Driven Creative Works:
2022 November. Creating AgeFriendly Innovations Joint Exhibition, Drexel University URBN Center, Philadelphia, PA
2022 December-2023 January. Creating AgeFriendly Innovations Joint Exhibition, Seamaac Community Center, Philadelphia, PA
2022 May. Aging + Design Exhibition, Drexel University URBN Center, Philadelphia, PA
Book in Progress:
Creating AgeFriendly Innovations, by June He and Catherine Quay
Other Juried Creative Works:
2023. Peer-reviewed Journal Cover Design for Design Issues by MIT Press.
2022-2023. Art as a Tool to Communicate Complex Emotion, Group Exhibition at Drexel Collection’s Rincliffe Gallery
2021. 3rd Prize Winner, Chinese American Immigrant Literature Award, New York City, NY
2021. Bonds Beyond Time, Alfa Art Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ
2021. Privilege, Power, and Everyday Life, Studio Montclair Gallery, Montclair, NJ
2020. 42nd Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ
2020. New Directions 2020: 36th Annual National Juried Contemporary Art Exhibition, Barrett Art Center, NY
2020. The Flag Project, Rockefeller Center, New York City, NY
2020. Look Back in Wonder, Arts Mid-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY
2020. Abstract, Queen City 15 Fine Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, NY
2019. Independent Art Book Fair, Industria Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
2009. Art + Design MFA Exhibition, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
2008. Disability + Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Union Art Gallery, Urbana, IL
2006. International Kitchen + Environment Design Competition Shortlist, Brussels, Belgium