I've always been half type-A geek, half rebel art kid. When deciding between art school and using my mad math/science skills, I decided to major in engineering. Because innovation & creative problem solving seemed like an awesome blend of left & right brain.
I studied mechanical engineering at Cornell with a focus on product design. I also did a masters' thesis is in systems engineering as an undergrad. So I got the skills, but skipped the grad degree (and the loans!). While studying engineering, I worked as a gallery intern doing graphic design and illustration.
After college, I worked in product design, graphic design, and social media marketing before I finally felt I had enough to experience to start my own business. I did product design at a startup in India. I worked as a graphic designer for an education nonprofit, a family-owned shop, and as a freelancer. And I worked for 3 years as a social media marketing manager – with a dash of UX design + business development – at a big tech corporation in Portland (with a manager in San Francisco, yay remote teams!).
Happily, it all blends together. Today, my focus is on digital communication and systems-level problem solving. One of my favorite parts of being independent is being able to bring out my "engineering hat" or "UX/product designer hat" as I work on different projects.