Kelsey Thorn is the Senior Designer at Her Campus Media and a My Social Canvas all star. Our Design For Her Education judges couldn’t choose just one of her fantastic designs, so they picked two! 

The Design For Her Education contest was in collaboration with WomenOne, a non-profit which benefits girl’s education around the world. It was founded by fashion icon Dayle Haddon, who was one of our judges alongside supermodel Christy Turlington, Marie Claire Magazine Editor in Chief Anne Fulenwider, Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford, Marie Clare’s Beauty and Health Director Erin Flaherty, Designer Catherine Malandrino, and Project Runway producer Desiree Gruber. The Design For Her Education contest helped girls at home too, since the winning student designers won scholarships and valuable experience in the Fashion Industry. 

We wanted to learn more about this creative, talented Skidmore College graduate who has a passion for English Literature, Creative Writing and Studio Art. Read our conversation with Kelsey below!

Tell us your story. What inspired you to participate in MSC’s #Design4HerEducation contest?

I immediately fell in love with My Social Canvas, the cause and the #Design4HerEducation contest. For me, MSC and WomenOne perfectly epitomize how one can help others simply by doing what they love. #Design4HerEducation provided me with a chance to support and strengthen this mission devoted to enabling women and girls globally to follow their passions through access to quality education. It truly is a perfect blend of my passion for design and my desire promote the importance of education.

I’m not a college student and I didn’t enter this contest for the prizes or for the chance to have my designs seen by an impressive cast of celebrity judges. I am a working professional and am happily living a life I love, working currently as the Senior Designer at Her Campus Media, an innovative media company and online community for college women, by college women. With the desire to simply do more to provide women with opportunity, I’ve contributed my volunteer design services to the She’s the First organization, working directly with the founder Tammy Tibbetts, to create promotional and marketing materials that help amplify the STF message.  

Put simply, MSC and WomenOne are encouraging women to create a life they love, and I’m truly honored and humbled to be a part of that.

What goals do you hope to achieve in designing a life and career you love?

Honestly, my goal is simply to continue to design a life and career I love, to pursue anything that brings me happiness and fulfills my sense of purpose in this world.

If I’ve learned anything in life so far, it’s been that I cannot control what is ahead of me or what will happen to me.  It’s impossible to design an idea of your life and live out that exact design to the very T. What’s important is that you continue to dream and recognize where your passions lie so that you can go forward in the world in a direction you feel comfortable with. Indeed, I could sit here and design my life according to everything I hope I get tomorrow, next week or three years from now, but I wouldn’t really be living my life if I spent my time doing that.

My goal is to be happy and to enjoy my life everyday, to live with purpose, never give up on my daydreams and, most importantly, to inspire other women and girls to figure out what they love and chase it without hesitation. As long as I’m doing that, no matter where I’m working or what I’m doing, I’ll be happy.

If you had to pick one event or situation that has had the largest impact on you as a designer, what would it be?

As a child, I was lucky enough to grow up with an amazing father who truly embodied what it means to do what you love. My father, a boarding school teacher of English Literature and Creative Writing, was a beyond remarkable man to whom there was no such thing as doing too much and to whom success wasn’t defined by the number on your paycheck. To my dad, if you were doing what you truly loved and you weren’t tailoring your passions based on the money then you were doing everything right.

I lost my dad just before my 16th birthday to cancer. I was, by definition, my father’s daughter and I felt like my entire life was caving in on me. Forced to grow up at such a young age, I swore to honor my father’s spirit by discovering what made me happy and to sticking to it.  I had always been drawing, taking photos, molding sculptures and pretty much doing any and every type of artistic activity you could think of, but I had never seriously considered becoming an artist or a designer.

I am the creative young woman I am today because of my father and I wouldn’t have the perseverance and dedication to my passions that I have today if it weren’t for his loss. He designed a life he loved, no matter how short lived, and I’m doing just that!


Hobby: Metalsmithing - I developed the passion to create things, such as jewelry, out of metal when I was in college and it’s something that will stick with me forever.

Summer Anthem: This is always the hardest question to answer and, yet, everyone keeps asking it. I’m really into everything Tropical House.

Favorite Book: Too hard! I can’t simply just have one favorite.

Summer Beauty Tip: Less is more. Go Natural. Hydrate and protect your skin with a moisturizer that contains SPF!

Ideal Afternoon: Spending time outside, exercising and playing with my puppy Bella (on Instagram as @missbellaboop_)

Summer Fashion Tip: It’s all about the prints - printed shorts and lightweight pants. Pull on a plain white or simple tee, a pair of printed shorts and some slip on shoes and you’re good to go.

Favorite or Dream Vacation Spot: I’ve always wanted to go to Zanzibar but I don’t know what inspired that. I think I just fell in love with the way that Zanzibar sounds when I was a kid and I never let go of the idea once I realized it was a real place (and a beautiful place at that, Google it!).