I’m a Product Designer with a background in Visual Design and a fondness for Service Design. I love dogs, wandering through national parks, watching watercolor sunsets, and creating graphic art from my photos of all three. I enjoy playing beach volleyball, board games, and piano. In addition to user experience, I also research and read about mindfulness meditation, environmental causes, and sustainable practices.
I am ardently dedicated to understanding the end-users’ experiences through qualitative research in order to create engaging and intuitive products. Since as far back as I can remember, I have been motivated by an innate desire to help people, inspire happiness, and make processes more efficient and easy to use.
In 2019, I…
- Completed a 10-month mindfulness Intensive Practice Program at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC)
- Presented ‘WTF is UX’ and consulting on UX Design as a Hack for LA volunteer
- Attended dozens of UX Design and Research events all over California, including Adobe MAX’s UX Leaders Summit
- Tried several kinds of yoga at the Wanderlust festivals, where I got to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak (blew my mind!)
- Hosted an “unconference” session called Mindfulness Meditation and How it Helps at Code for America’s Brigade Congress
- Participated in the Code for America Summit in Oakland and the Brigade Congress in Cleveland
3 Careers & 2 Bachelors: The Pre-UX Years
I began studying Fashion Design and Music in college, eventually graduating with a BA in Human Geography. (Similar to environmental studies and Anthropology, but less science-y, yet seemingly more practical than fashion.)
Years later, while applying for a second Bachelor’s degree program, I realized that Human Geography is pretty much the analog version of Interaction Design in that we studied how people interacted with their physical environment. One of my classes was called “Environmental Perception and Cognition”, which can easily be translated to the digital realm.
My career in apparel began at Juicy Couture as a sewing room assistant. Within a year, I was promoted to the R&D Director’s assistant, and finally Product Development Manager and Graphic Designer. I designed the graphics that would appear on lots of celebrity bums, managed the production of several sample lines per season, and oversaw multiple contractors.
Always seeking to increase efficiency and productive, I created all of the product development templates and cost sheets to simplify communication between employees and contractors and reduce damages in production. (After leaving Juicy, I was told that they hired three people to replace me.)
After Juicy, I worked as a freelance graphic designer, receiving nearly all of my contracts through coworker and client referrals.
While freelancing, I also started the first gender-neutral, music-inspired, kids clothing line based on my unique graphic designs. As the founder of Punk Baby, I filed for two trademarks, a business license, and a resale license, designed the original website and all marketing materials which appeared digitally and in print in Rolling Stone magazine, LA Times, and more.
After returning from a three-month solo Euro-trip, I decided to leave the apparel industry for good. I found myself applying to work in a hotel.
Once again driven by a need to improve processes and noticing a lot of issues with guest experiences in the 250 room hotel, I designed standard operating procedures and a training program for front desk employees. These efforts helped to reduce the problems that had been plaguing the front desk and improved overall guest experiences.
Having returned to fashion after another two month Euro-trip, I once again looked for a way to get out. By a random stroke of luck, I discovered a job posting with the City of Santa Monica that required experience in visual and web design, as well as hospitality. (It also had beach volleyball courts on site- a huge perk.)
Here I proposed several website improvements based on insights discovered through talking with customers and employees.
These improvements decreased many customer frustrations, reduced employee workload, improved the website’s ease of use, and increased information and feature discoverability. I later discovered that what I’d been intuitively doing was called “User Experience Design”.
In 2016, another stroke of luck led me to discover the Interaction Design Bachelor’s program at Santa Monica College. Admitted into the first cohort (aka: the guinea pigs) I and my classmates completed the most rigorous and intense curriculum offered to date. I absolutely loved it. On day one I realized that I’d finally found my calling.
In 2018, I was beyond excited and honored to learn that my conceptual student product, ALEYE: Connect with Your Heart, was shortlisted in the 2018 IxDA Awards among a list of amazing professional and existing products.
I graduated with high honors while working full-time as an Interaction Designer.