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User Research

As a researcher, I am constantly fascinated by the human experience and the motivations, beliefs, behaviors and attitudes of people. I am particularly interested in health or social-mission driven research. 

"If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likeable person: respectful, generous and helpful." - Alan Cooper


I am the first UX Researcher at Delta Dental of WA. I've worn many hats in the role and have led the following: 

  • Competitive analysis

  • Stakeholder discovery sessions

  • Collaborative research plan development

  • User recruitment strategy and execution 

  • Contextual inquiry/ethnography

  • Validation wireframe/prototype testing

  • Data collection (interviewing, usability testing via UserZoom and Zoom) 

  • Data analysis (Grounded Theory approach using DeDoose + Atlas.ti) 

  • Presentation of results to stakeholders and dev/product teams

    • Reports, infographics, PowerPoint presentations​, video clips

  • Persona building

  • Journey mapping

  • Research Ops tool evaluation

I have also been involved in UX culture building activities: 

  • Company-wide innovation newsletter development (design, copywriting, management) 

  • Interactive workshop development and facilitation for employees on interviewing customers, "Understanding Your Customers" 

  • "What is UX Research?" presentation to data visualization team at Fred Hutch and ongoing UX research consulting for Immune Space team 

  • UX Research 101 presentation and participation in Career Expo at 2019 American Anthropological Association conference in Vancouver, CA 

Participatory Action Research Projects

At the Institute for Community Research (ICR) in Hartford, CT, I collaborated with fellow anthropologists on numerous public health research studies. We focused in participatory action research (PAR), which radically involves affected community members in the formulation of research studies, collection of data, and presentation of data to policymakers with the overall goal of encouraging positive social behavioral change. Exposure to PAR shaped my foundation as a researcher. It opened my eyes to the social determinants of health, the power of ethnographic methods for data collection, the importance of using research for community-change, and the critical point of view of users as experts in their experience. 

My research efforts at ICR centered around food justice, HIV/STI prevention and substance abuse prevention issues.




Spanish and English





Substance Abuse Prevention among teenagers in West Hartford, CT (prescription drug abuse and misuse, binge drinking) 


Project Coordinator and Research Educator 


Participatory Action Research

Social Marketing Campaign 

Research Tools Taught to Teens: 

  • Survey 

  • In-depth interview 

  • Storyboarding

  • Video production 


  • West Hartford Substance Abuse Prevention Commission

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 

  • West Hartford Public Schools

A small group of teens conducted research with the guidance of ICR anthropologists/research educators. This data informed their production of short PSA-style videos (Epic Bail and Not A Prescription for Dating), used in a broader social marketing campaign. The videos were showcased in public school health classes and a Town Hall event funded by SAMHSA. Teens also developed campaign merchandise to spread the messages developed through their research. 

Photos courtesy of the Institute for Community Research



Healthy food accessibility, availability, "friendliness" of farmers markets for teenagers, food justice, urban farming/community gardens in Hartford, CT


Project Coordinator and Research Educator 


Participatory Action Research

Research Tools Taught to Teens: 

  • Survey 

  • In-depth interview 

  • Community mapping

  • Pile sorting


  • Hartford Food System

  • Capitol Workforce Partners, Our Piece of the Pie 

  • Perrin Family Foundation

A team of anthropologists and I at ICR taught research methodologies to a group of teens in Hartford, CT during this 6-week program. The youth gathered data from community members at community gardens, farmers markets, and also worked a few days a week at the urban farm run by Hartford Food System. At the end of the program, their data was presented to the larger community, in an effort to eventually present their findings to city policymakers.



Prior to writing my thesis for the University of Connecticut Honors Program, I collected data (surveys, in-depth interviews in Spanish and English) for a National Institutes of Health-funded study titled Sweet Inner Power at The Institute for Community Research (ICR). 


This study was focused on sexual wellness education/empowerment training, and the accessibility and availability of female condoms as a women-initiated prevention option.

I was inspired by my four years working at ICR to study similar issues surrounding women-initiated prevention options on my own college campus, the University of Connecticut.


The thesis is published on UConn's Digital Commons. 

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