tl;dr My journey to UI/UX can be compared to a road trip with many stops at cool places.

Sitting on a rock

I want to learn all the things.

My journey to design hasn’t been a straightforward path. But, the guiding principles of improving peoples’ experiences with a product or service have been an important part of everything I do. Growing up, I wanted to learn everything. A fascination with human behavior led me to study psychology at Penn State and subsequently work there for three years managing scientific research studies. I enjoyed interviewing patients and collecting data....until I got bit by the need to learn something new bug.

[Enter: Art, stage left.]

Though I love math and science, I have always enjoyed art and its ability to communicate stories visually. In 2010, I pursued an MFA degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus on digital photography. An opportunity to study abroad led to my spending several months in Hong Kong. I found myself intrigued by consumer culture as I explored the city. This odd fascination resulted in me using photography to tell stories of consumer culture.

From Research to "Rogramming".

After completing my MFA degree and a stint as a freelance photographer (don’t worry, I still photograph from time to time), I relocated to Virginia. After a few years, I became a Project Manager at a nonprofit technology start-up advocating for open science. I “wore many hats” including serving as the organization’s designer/marketer, but I found myself most intrigued by what the developers did all day (it looked like puzzles of gibberish, but I like puzzles). A co-worker took the time to teach me programming concepts, which we dubbed “learning programming on the rogue” (aka rogramming). I used Python libraries to create visually compelling stories that others can easily understand.

Are we there yet?

What does all of this have to do with UI/UX? All my seemingly unrelated interests and experiences are related and relevant to UI/UX. I love researching user interactions while creating functional, visually appealing products. UI/UX builds on the amalgamation of my skills and (wait for it!) and creates opportunities to learn new processes, software, and tools.

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