Ideas Menu Search

Ten Minutes with: Masuma Henry

Our A10 spotlight this week is Masuma Henry. She has a big heart. Social justice, impact, equality are her favorite subjects. Puppies are a different matter. 

When did you know that you wanted to be in user experience design

I always found human behavior and processing to be so interesting; it is what led to my major in cognitive psychology. When studying human error in disasters like Chernobyl, I discovered that seemingly trivial things, like the design of a dial, could have a major impact on human lives. From then on, I was hooked on design, or, as we called it back then, human-computer interaction.

What is in your notebook?

You will find many trailing thoughts about disparate things being connected. For those who know me well, this would not be surprising, but there are plenty of  to-do lists, of course.

What is the thing (product, service, etc) that you would die to design? Why?

I would love to work on models of standardized, subsidized, post-secondary education that is accessible and equitable to all. That’s why I am really excited to be a mentor for the Intel Education Accelerator program and contribute to the success of these edtech startups. 

What advice would you give to your 10 year old self?

Spend as much time writing stories and drawing, as you do on math and science.

What would people never guess about you?

I love handy work: painting walls, inlaying carpet, refinishing cabinets, laying tiles, etc. That kind of work keeps me grounded.

What is your favorite Artefact project and why?

My favorite projects are the ones that give us an opportunity to work with a visionary client on an issue where our work has the potential for positive social impact. Projects that come to mind include our work on designing a collaboration space for HIV researchers to accelerate the path to vaccine discovery. Another project I am attached to is the DreamBox Learning dashboard for educators. It turns data into actionable insights that help teachers and administrators make confident, personalized decisions about when and how to connect with their students.

What are you afraid of?

I am terrified of Pit Bulls and Dobermans. Especially together in an enclosed area, without an escape route. But most of all, playing it safe. 

Where do you go/what do you do for inspiration?

Some of my life-altering inspiration has come through conversations with complete strangers.