How did I get here?
Nine years ago when I began my undergraduate education in magazine journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism I never could have foreseen human-computer interaction in my future. Looking back now, however, I can identify a few key decisions and experiences that have shaped me into the professional I am today. During my undergraduate studies I decided to focus on digital magazine journalism instead of print. This was in reaction to the exciting design spaces being presented at the time – including online-only magazines and the iPad. As a result of this choice I continued into a career creating digital content and designs after graduation. By working as a digital journalist I began understand the needs of writers and readers more as a user experience designer and researcher and less as a journalist. I made the firm switch to HCI by attending the Masters for Human-Computer Interaction Program at Carnegie Mellon University this past year. During my education at CMU I was able to continue to expand my abilities as a user researcher and designer and to explore new areas in the development and programming side of the industry.
I still pursue many of the same passions in HCI that I did in journalism – mainly, the overall passion for making information accessible to readers and users. One of the major breakdowns in digital design today is that there is an influx of information, but so much of it is inaccessible because it is hidden in confusing data bases or behind unnavigable interfaces. It is my goal as an HCI professional to connect research to design to meet the overall goal of giving users greater access to information and empowering them to create their own solutions.