19 Years Old and Changing the World

by Adobe Life Team

Posted on 01-24-2018

Do you know who Diana Chao is?

Diana is a 19-year-old Chinese-American immigrant, currently studying physics at Princeton University. She’s the founder of Letters to Strangers (L2S), a global youth-run organization seeking to de-stigmatize mental illness. She’s been recognized by the U.S. Navy for her research on dengue virus. Was honored by President Obama as 2016’s sole female Academic U.S. Presidential Scholar from California. And last month she presented at TEDxTeen in New York. You have to believe me when I say the list goes on.

Listen to Diana’s powerful TEDxTeen talk about mental health.

But today, she’s a Community Experience intern at Adobe following her passion—to create change through art.

When you have someone with such a long list of achievements, you can’t help but wonder what led her to the Tech industry in Silicon Valley.

When I asked Diana what drew her to intern for Adobe, the answer was simple—she wanted to work with Project 1324, Adobe’s social impact initiative that works with emerging creatives and youth arts organizations around the world.

“When I was at this year’s Just Peace Summit, Adobe Project 1324 was a sponsor there. That’s when I learned about their mission to help recognize emerging artists as a force for positive impact. They support, connect, and amplify artists’ creativity. And this really resonated with me,” Diana said.

When art and science intersect

Diana, who’s also an avid photographer and writer, found that Adobe’s creative community really spoke to her, so she was thrilled when she was offered a Summer internship on the Project 1324 team. But what exactly goes into being a Community Experience intern?

“I do a mix of things. As an artist, I create content for our Project 1324 community. I also research potential partner youth arts organizations. And I help build Project 1324’s online community. It’s my job to get artists to feel that they have a voice to make change with. All in all, I connect people who use art to make social change.”

And although Diana has an extensive background in the arts, she also wanted to find a positon that catered to both the left and right side of her brain, which is a tricky balance, especially for a self-proclaimed artist-scientist.

“I worked at a few different companies prior to Adobe where I thought I would find more of that intersection between art and science, but that wasn’t the case. So when I joined Adobe it was so refreshing. It’s easier to navigate different fields and see real life impact here. In my role I found a lot of innovation by combining art and science. I did a lot of research on user data to find patterns on how to improve the customer experience. Once I had that data, I used my art to get people engaged within the community based on my findings.”

A future of unique experiences

There’s always something new you can learn at Adobe, which is what’s made Diana’s experience here so unique compared to her past experiences.

“I think what’s really great about Adobe is how welcoming it is—both in terms of people and mission. You have so many things you can explore. People here have so many different stories and passions, and I have learned so much from them. It’s meaningful work.”

In the middle of her college experience, Diana still has her whole career ahead of her, but what’s her dream job?

“I’m still figuring that out! Ideally, something that still continues to be a mix of art and science, and where I can make social impact on a global scale. I’m thankful that Adobe’s given me the platform to do just that.” But after a pause, Diana couldn’t help but say, “Or a National Geographic photojournalist, or an astronaut.”

There’s no doubt Diana will shoot for the moon.

Interested in joining Adobe? Keep an eye out for open positions on our career site.

Topics: Adobe Life, Employee Impact, Adobe Culture, Brand