Producer and Experience Designer, Microsoft
UW Major: English
Tell us a bit about your job (e.g. what kinds of things you’re working on, what types of problems you solve day to day, etc.)?
I currently work as a producer and process administrator specifically tasked with supporting designers working on business software at Microsoft. There are a number of disciplines represented under the capital-dee Design umbrella—Interaction, User Experience, Content, Research, etc.—and I work in collaboration with experts from each of them and other DesignOps folx to prove out the value of human-centered design approaches and increase the impact of Design on products and organizational strategy. Stripped of the corporate jargon, I try to help designers get their work done and their voices heard.
How do you think your humanities education has influenced/advanced your career path?
Despite working in tech, which has traditionally been focused on generating solutions through the lens of engineering, I've found my background in the humanities to be valuable throughout my career. My studies in English gave me a leg up from my start in the games industry over a decade ago, using composition to better my bug reports and cross-team communication, through my time as a game designer, analyzing the stories we were telling with a critical eye and (thanks also to a few Cinema classes) multimedia literacy. Learning Spanish and sign language helped break me out of a monolingual, Eurocentric mindset, reminding me to consider a diverse audience and inspiring a commitment to accessibility. And taking classes in the Comparative History of Ideas built my appreciation for what's possible when we commit to cross-discipline solutions rooted in the contexts of culture and history. Sure, it might have been an easier path if I'd just learned to code as a teenager, but I think my contributions are richer because of the variety of inputs that have shaped my approach to the job.