June He, IDSA

Assistant Professor, Drexel University

June He is an Assistant Professor of Product Design at Drexel University. She is a multifaceted product designer and artist with extensive industry experience. Her passion and work focus on aging and relevant design innovation, participatory design methods, and a collaborative, cross-cultural design process with diverse participants. 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 and research projects for cross-disciplinary students at Drexel University and older adults in Philadelphia’s Asian communities.

Making Diverse Voices Heard: Building Community-Based Co-Create Projects with Older Asian Communities in Philadelphia

Education Symposium
Academic Paper

Sept 13, 2022

Main Stage

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM

The needs and voices of older Asian adults in America are not widely studied by design practitioners and design researchers. Anti-Asian discrimination and incidents, especially towards senior Asians, have increased across the country after the breaking out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Educators have a responsibility to utilize empathic design and co-create methods to help increase the awareness of the specific needs of this population and create solutions with their lived experience in mind.

This paper talks about the creation and preparation of a Community-based Co-create study and relevant Aging + Design course, connecting interdisciplinary college students from Drexel University with older adults in Philadelphia’s Asian Community. It focuses on the strategy of community-based collaboration during Covid-19 and methods used to enhance cross-cultural communication despite language barriers.

The paper provides insights on how to bring the lived experiences from diverse communities to the academic environment, increasing students’ awareness and understanding of inclusive and empathic design in the real world, as well as bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the design course pedagogy. Furthermore, it fills a knowledge gap by conducting co-create collaborations with older Asian adults in the US.