Tina He '15


Describe your path since graduating from Portsmouth Abbey School.

After graduating from Portsmouth Abbey School, I attended Cornell University to pursue my passion for humanities and social science but ended up stumbling into the technology industry. Since then, I have been fascinated by how design can empower technology to make positive social impact. I've launched products at large companies such as a self-service that expedites and scales the new restaurant onboard experience at Grubhub. At Facebook, I redesigned their events sharing and consumption experience. And at Bloomberg, I created infographics and new media content through visualizing Bloomberg Terminal data with CSS and JS/D3. Along with working within these large companies, I built products from scratch for a wide range of small startups. At Cornell, I am the co-founder of two student organizations which aim to promote and empower design education and awareness. Currently, I am also leading a team of 6 developers and designers in building a fitness application for students at Cornell.

A designer in the tech world is a lot more technical than traditional design... It's more like designing systems and experiences!

How did your experience at Portsmouth Abbey School help you become the person & professional you are today?

The humanities program at Portsmouth Abbey School is life changing. The courses in Humanities taught by Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Cowan, American History by Mr. Gittus, and American Literature by Ms. McDermott are three of the best classes I have taken in my life. It's fair to say these courses had opened up a new way of thinking for me. I have yet to experience such high-quality courses even at Cornell.

What is the best advice you could give to a current student?

High school can be stressful with rigorous academics, extracurricular activities, and the daunting process of college admissions. That being said, it is really important to still pay mindful attention to what you love and what you don't. I encourage you to build strong relationships with the faculty; treat them as your best ally. The relationship I built with Ms. McDermott in my last two years at Portsmouth Abbey School was transformative; I told her about my goals and dreams, and she didn’t hesitate to call me out when I made mistakes. For that, I will be eternally grateful.