Philosophy & Values

Design Philosophy

Design streamlined tools and seamless experiences using participatory methods that solve complex problems impacting our society.

I am a creative synthesizer, careful listener, and quick yet deep study.


  • Kaizen (continuous improvement), lifelong learning, and personal growth
  • Collaborating with others on a shared vision
  • Making an impact in the community and to humanity through my work
  • Practicing humility and appreciation of others
  • Servant leadership and mentoring other women and minorities
Kona Bay

Journey to User Experience

Phase 1: Japanese Influence

I was born and raised in Kailua-Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. I moved to the Pacific Northwest where I earned my BA in Asian Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. I played golf, was a resident assistant of the Japanese interest house, and was active in the Whitman community.

During my junior year I studied abroad in Kyoto, Japan with the Associated Kyoto Program. I traveled the country while learning the language, culture, art, literature, religion, and history. A family hosted me near Kyoto in Otsu-shi, Shiga-ken. I practiced Yabunouchi tea ceremony and calligraphy during my years at Whitman and abroad. Japanese culture and aesthetics instilled in me the importance of service to human experiences and space to visual design.

Phase 2: Designing & Building for the Web

After graduating, I decided to pursue my interest in technology (which I was not able to while I was an undergraduate) through the University of Washington’s Multimedia Design & Production certificate program in Seattle, WA. I started developing websites for a few local business owners. The certificate program introduced me to user experience and information architecture, leading me to pursue my Master's degree in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) online at Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics.

Phase 3: Human-Computer Interaction

While earning my MSLIS, I became interested in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and digital libraries. I also volunteered at the Seattle Public Library several times a month. Shortly after graduating, I was encouraged by a faculty member at Drexel to apply for the PhD program in Information Studies. The summer before beginning my doctoral studies, I started working with Azuma Gallery, a modern Japanese print gallery, as a web master.

Phase 4: Participatory Design

During my years as a PhD student at Drexel, I conducted research on the participatory design of an information display to support awareness during ad hoc, collocated, interdisciplinary, and emergency medical teamwork in the trauma resuscitation domain. In my last year, I taught Human-Computer Interaction and Web Development at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Phase 5: Cross-Functional Collaboration

Many of the participatory methods I developed as part of my dissertation research have become the foundation for the work I do today, now expanded to include stakeholders on cross-functional teams. Recently I have been creating UX "boundary objects," helping form shared mental models that make it easier to collaborate and build better products.

Kona Bay
CSCW 2013

Current Life


Recently, I co-founded Fulcra Dynamics with a stellar group of people and lead Product and User Experience. I am now based out of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.


In my spare time I love making kimchi, baking soufflés, snapping photos, running, and gardening. On occassion, I also enjoy improving myself through reading, meditating, and becoming more minimalist. Sci-fi, supernatural horror, and thriller series draw me in. Fringe, Black Mirror, Battlestar Galactica, Lost in Space, and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina top my list. Japanese animation has long been a favorite genre of mine, particularly psychological thrillers, fantasy, and action. A few of my favorites include Mushishi, Death Note, Monster, Full Metal Alchemist, and Tekkonkinkreet.