Great design happens when the designer is a facilitator of the process, not the dictator of the solution.
Hello, I’m a Human-Centered designer and researcher experienced in the social, commercial, and academic sectors. Currently, I am a Product Insight Researcher for Target owned brands portfolio. In 2014, I started an architecture-inspired jewelry business called Koonyai Studio. Products are available in stores and museums nation-wide.
Trained as an architect and an artist from the University of Minnesota and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, my design work has been part of numerous exhibitions and earned a permanent collection space at the Cranbrook Art Museum.
Human-centered design and research appealed to me because it embodies many elements of social innovation including empathy, a user-centric approach, and understanding the needs and motivations of others.
A great design happens when the solution is truly coming from, and for the users, not the designers. In my practice, a project is considered successful when the users feels the ownership and invest in the project. By empathetically engaging users and stakeholders in all stages of the process: need-finding, brainstorming, prototyping, and piloting, the outcome is a sustainable solution that will be embraced by the users and welcomed by the stakeholders.
Minneapolis, MN is my current home where I enjoy doing my side business www.koonyaistudio.com and going for a run with my dog child, Wallace.
Fulbright Fellowship Semi-Finalist - Fulbright Program U.S.A. 2015
Museum Permanent Collection Purchase Award - Cranbrook Art Museum 2015
Kass Bradley Scholarship in Design – Knoll 2013
Arkitektura-Andrew Fisher Scholarship – Cranbrook Academy of Art 2013
Design and Scholarship Excellence Award – College of Design, University of Minnesota 2012
A.I. Johnson Fellowship for Design for Public Services – Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota 2012
Page Scholarship – Page Education Foundation 2009-12
Jay Walter Tyson Memorial Scholarship – Assembly of Architects Minnesota 2011
Member of the Golden Chapter – National Residence Hall Honorary 2011
Dr. Nancy ‘Rusty’ Barceló Women’s Scholarship – University of Minnesota Women’s Center 2011
Outstanding Scholar – President Distinguished Faculty Mentor Program, University of Minnesota 2009-11
Community Advisor of the Year– Housing and Residential Life 2010
McNamara Alumni Association Scholarship – University of Minnesota Alumni Association 2009
Dorothy Ziebell Memorial Scholarship – Education Foundation of Bloomington 2009
Kate Petit Scholarship – Bloomington Fine Arts Council 2009