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.

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 enjoy developing projects and exercises that introduce students to the potential of what design skills can really do — for other people and for themselves.

Students from the UW Design class of 2019 in Color & Composition.

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 three Storytime nights: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Home Alone, and A Christmas Story.

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 slides to recap the process of solving the problem. Videos of the presentations are on YouTube.

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 to introduce graphic design process and software to high schoolers, adapted from The Noun Project Iconathons. In five after-school sessions, students chose a school issue they felt deserved attention and, through sketches and group feedback, developed an icon to communicate that message.

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 3, 2018.