Teach­ing

Grad­u­ate thesis. I spent my time as a grad student research­ing how media lit­er­acy, tech­nol­ogy, and design skills could address the unique com­plex­i­ties of being a middle schooler. 

My thesis project com­bines those ideas into a set of class­room lessons on social media lit­er­acy, includ­ing 12 lesson plans for teach­ers and an app for stu­dents to use during the lessons. Through­out, stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in fun photo exer­cises and import exist­ing Insta­gram posts, con­nect­ing class­room con­cepts to kids’ actual social media expe­ri­ences. More details in the . walk­through,. doc­u­men­ta­tion, and . lesson plans.


Under­grad design classes. I’ve been teach­ing graphic design and con­cept­ing classes since 2011, includ­ing assist­ant­ships in grad school, and I’m now teach­ing part-time at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton.

My heart is in the intro­duc­tory classes, and I really enjoy devel­op­ing projects and exer­cises that intro­duce stu­dents to the poten­tial of what design skills can really do — for other people and for them­selves.


Square + Circle. This is a drawing exer­cise I devel­oped to intro­duce the steps of the design process on the first day of class — high­light­ing the value of setting goals, con­cept­ing, and feed­back. I love build­ing sand­boxes for stu­dents to explore ideas. It’s part of the fun of teach­ing: helping guide stu­dents to dis­cover spe­cific ideas, but not knowing what kinds of won­der­ful things they’ll make along the way.

Sketches by Chris­tine Tapawan, Josh Collinsworth, and Tom English.


Sto­ry­time. A project for AIGA Nebraska, intended to bring the class­room expe­ri­ence to pro­fes­sional graphic design­ers (giving mul­ti­ple people the same design con­straints and asking them to explain their process). I devel­oped the event concept and hosted two Sto­ry­time nights: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer and Home Alone.

At each event, 8–10 speak­ers with dis­tinct cre­ative skills rein­ter­pret the year’s story. The pre­sen­ta­tions follow the PechaKucha format, divided between 10 story slides and 10 to recap the process of solving the problem. . Watch the pre­sen­ta­tions.


Problem-solving work­shops for kids and fam­i­lies. Two sep­a­rate work­shops devel­oped for Nebraska orga­ni­za­tions — incor­po­rat­ing LEGO, comics, writing, music and drawing exer­cises.

Through College for Teens, I designed and taught a problem-solving class for middle school stu­dents, using the exer­cises to intro­duce design process strate­gies stu­dents could use for every­day prob­lems.

And for the Sheldon Museum of Art, I devel­oped exer­cises focused on ‘things’ (to dove­tail with a current exhibit). Many of the exer­cises started by ran­domly-select­ing a sheet of paper naming a ‘thing’ to use in the exer­cise (a button, a feather, a key, a pizza, a rubber ducky, etc.).


High school icon work­shops. A project for AIGA Nebraska, adapted from The Noun Project Iconathons. In five after-school ses­sions, stu­dents chose a school issue they felt deserved atten­tion and devel­oped an icon to help com­mu­ni­cate that message. Each student focused on one icon, and we worked as a group to iden­tify the version that com­mu­ni­cated the best. Icon design proved to be a fan­tas­tic, approach­able frame­work for intro­duc­ing graphic design process and soft­ware.


Maker Camp. The summer before I moved to Seattle, I was awarded a fel­low­ship from the Maker Edu­ca­tion Initiative’s Maker Corps program. The program has mul­ti­ple host museums and orga­ni­za­tions across the U.S., and I worked at the Omaha Children’s Museum for three months.

Our team piloted a number of new maker projects at the museum, and my primary task was to plan and teach two Maker Camps for 6–8 year-olds. We met for two hours daily for two weeks, cov­er­ing the spec­trum of maker activ­i­ties like marsh­mal­low shoot­ers, artbots, screen print­ing, wood­work­ing, and paper cir­cuits.

Updated May 24, 2017. Resume on LinkedIn.