What Makes a Megan | A Case Study of Self
Hi, I’m Megan!
It’s lovely to meet you.
I have exactly 23 houseplants.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my partner and those 23 houseplants.
I bookmark my books with other books — and yes, I write in the margins.
Most importantly, I’m a UX Designer.
How did I get here?
Before UX, I wore a plethora of colorful hats: circus performer, teaching artist, professional poet and more (see my publications here). I’ve spent my entire life engrossed in creative work. I’m not sure why I was inclined this way — it’s likely something to do with my grandmother. Crossword puzzles. Being a middle child.
In the fall of 2017, I unexpectedly lost my mom. Among the myriad of ways this grief echoed through my life, it prompted me to question the journey I was carving out for myself. While I loved being creative, being a mentor, and pushing for more expression and honesty in the world — I was kind of bored.
It wasn’t until my partner offered to teach me about programatic functions that I realized what was missing. My brain! It could problem-solve! It could think hard and assess and stretch and grow! I hadn’t pushed myself this far outside of my creative comfort zone since college, and even then it wasn’t this stimulating.
During my time learning, I realized that I was organically focusing more on the visual design and experience of what I built, and less on the process of building it. Maybe coding alone wasn’t exactly what I wanted?
Still uncertain, I decided to branch out farther. I volunteered at Music City Tech and spent my time there talking to as many people as possible. From there, I decided to attain my Agile Certification. I did this for two reasons:
I had never worked in the technology business, and I wanted to understand more about the world I was considering to be certain it was right for me.
I care about my relationships. Not just my interpersonal ones, but every connection I make with every person. Any chance I get to learn how to work better with others, I take it.
During my Agile training, we spent some time discussing user storyboarding and empathy maps. “Whoa,” I thought to myself. “This is it. This is what I’ve been searching for.”
I can’t exactly explain why, but this activity excited me beyond words. You mean people think about other people? You mean we can harness empathy to build better technology? YOU MEAN THAT’S A JOB??”
Two months later, I walked into my first day of class at DevMountain. I moved to Salt Lake City to attend the 13-week UX immersive. I knew no one, I had never even visited Utah. But in the words of Brené Brown,
“You will always belong in any place you show up as yourself and talk about your life and your work in an honest way.”
My instructors and mentors at DevMountain inspired me and pushed me to look at myself and to look at the world in terms of possibility, not limitation. To seek betterment, not complaint. To solve problems, not work around them.
So what now?
Post-DevMountain, I’m working on a number of personal projects, building my network, collaborating with my partner, and continuing to learn as much as possible.
My areas of focus: professional development, graphic design, and the principles of animation.
My areas of strength: communication, research, and data analysis.
I am passionate about User Experience because I have been the person on the other side of the computer. I have accepted designs that ignored me and internalized them as my fault. That there was something lacking in me.
I am passionate about User Experience because I believe in the infinite possibilities of a technological world, and I believe that world is impossible without the human spirit: our ethics, our stories, and the sweet mystery of connection.