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About

Introductions Are In Order

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I am an Assistant Professor of Communication Design and Graduate Director of the MFA in Experience Design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I research ways people and design decisions intersect at experiential and systemic levels. My recent work explores how co-creating end-of-life choices with stakeholders can facilitate meaningful decision-making resources and tools; ways multiple intelligence theories can be applied to facilitate learning necessary for addressing complex problems; and how rhetoric and semantics in design affect aspirations and goals. I am a Scripps Gerontology Center Research Fellow and my current research work is a transdisciplinary research project titled Living Values that focuses on end-of-life choices and advance care planning for underserved populations in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Prior to my academic appointment, I practiced design professionally for fifteen years as a creative director, graphic, interaction, and experience designer at agencies, in-house, and non-profit organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.

A Little History

My design career started in first grade by following instructions from Ed Emberley’s drawing book, Make a World to create panoramas out of everyday shapes. In third grade, I bought a typography book from a Scholastic Book Fair, and by the time I took my first art class in 8th grade, I knew my future was as an artist. In my junior year in high school, I learned the term “commercial artist” which set a point on the horizon for my future career. I had no idea then that eventually, I’d go onto a career as a designer, researcher, and educator.

Summary of Education and Professional Experience

My education and professional experiences are comprised of work in diverse areas that embody modern experience design. I started my undergraduate education in 1993 at Texas Tech University when the concept of “meaningful user experiences” was just emerging as a matter of concern in design. The BFA in Design Communication at Texas Tech University emphasized traditional art training for the production of visually detailed outcomes like posters, books, and packaging. In 1995 I added a second major—a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing—to develop copywriting skills that would advance my career opportunities for one day becoming a Creative Director. 

Between 1993 and 1998 when I completed my undergraduate study, I used the world wide web as it went from text-based green letters on black screens to image-based layouts that resemble the web we know today. No interaction design courses existed in design at Texas Tech at this time so I learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript through self-driven projects and experimentation. I created my first websites in 1996 and continue to stay current with software, markup languages, and usability best practices as interaction design have shifted from home computing to mobile platforms to omnichannel experiences. In 1998, I graduated from Texas Tech with a BFA in Design Communication and a BA in English and began my professional career in design in Dallas, Texas.

I was a practicing designer for 15 years for design agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, and as a freelance designer. Over the course of my professional career, I have produced graphic design, interaction design, service design, and experience design outcomes. I have designed and directed the creation of websites, email marketing, CD ROMs, kiosk interfaces, books, branding materials like logos and style guides, food and perfume packaging, apparel, vehicle wraps, posters, wayfinding, and environmental design. During my career, I have done work for clients including Houghton Mifflin Textbook publishers, Baker Botts LLP international law firm, HKS Architects, Southwest Airlines, Public Broadcasting Station KERA-TV, and the Water Is Basic African water initiative charity. I learned valuable lessons from each project and client. For example, as a writer in Customer Relations at Southwest Airlines I learned how the company’s industry-leading reputation for customer service was earned. During my 13 years at Irving Bible Church, a Dallas-area megachurch, I learned the emotional power of experience design by developing materials and spaces that helped attendees efficiently move about the church campus and also enter a state of readiness for spiritual worship in those spaces. At HKS Architects, I developed my ability to work in interdisciplinary teams when I worked with architects and interior designers to create proposals for building projects such as hotels in Abu Dhabi, Major League Baseball training facilities in Arizona, and Hospital complexes in Ohio.

In 2010 I started work on an MFA in Innovation Studies at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. The degree focused heavily on applied design research—integrating research methods and theory for addressing complex social challenges. Coursework for the MFA was comprised of three major content areas: nine hours of study in Cultural Anthropology, nine hours of design pedagogy, and 15 hours of design research-intensive learning. I produced design research for Cook Children’s Hospital, the City of Owasso, Oklahoma, and studied Small Business Behaviors and Attitudes.

I enjoy playing disc golf, backgammon, and going to big concerts in small venues.

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