I wanted to provide a brief overview of my coursework to provide you with a larger context into which to place my work. Also, since CMU Design recently made major changes to its program, the program description on its website no longer reflects the program I completed.

MASTERS OF DESIGN Elective Courses

I used my elective courses to expand the breadth of my design education. I focused primarily on project-based courses where I had the opportunity to work in diverse teams, and move from research and strategy to concept generation and execution to communicating all within a short timeframe. I also added courses to increase my core technical competencies.

Designing for Service
with Jodi Forlizzi

This course covered the fundamental tools and theories of designing for service through lectures, readings and a few preliminary exercises, before plunging into an 8-week team project. Teams were tasked with improving the service offerings of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra who served as the client for the project.

Strategy Lab (Business design)
with Gill Wildman

This “lab style” course explored the emerging discipline of design strategy. How can we take a design-approach to business strategy? How can design and designers help businesses (or non-profits) reach their strategic goals? The course included weekly readings from leading business and design strategy thinkers, a series of short projects and exercises, a final 3-week project culminating in pitching a design strategy for a chosen business or organization.

Design and Policy for Humanitarian Impact
with Kristen Hughes, Bruce Hannington & Tim Zak

An experimental course, DPHI mixed design, policy and business students to consider how we might better tackle complex social problems.

In the first half of the course students are introduced to principles of social innovation and key social challenges on a local and global scale, and case studies are presented by local social innovators. In the second half of the course, students form trans-disciplinary teams, dig into a social issue, and propose a design concept to help tackle the chosen issue.

Advanced Web Design
with Andrew Twigg

This course covers design principles when designing for the web. While not a coding course, the class covers limited technical demos, and helps students better understand the current trends and practices for designing with HTML and CSS. As a non-credit audit student, I attended many lectures but did not complete projects.

Social Psychology
with Cante Boyd

This introductory course provided structure to some of the psychology principles I was already familiar with, and introduced a few new ones as well. As a non-credit audit student, I attended most lecture but did not complete tests or assignments for the course.

Analysis of Uncertain Social Systems (Decision Science)
with Stephen Broomell

A great course with a confusing title. It could simply by called Decisions under Uncertainty. We explored normative and descriptive models and theories for how people make decisions under uncertainty including signal detection theory, game theory, and prospect theory. The second half of the course covers risk perception and communications.

Mapping and Diagramming (Information design)
with Karen Moyer

Karen is a legend at CMU with good reason. She is a master information designer who was a pioneer in the field, and is eager to set the next generation of designer straight about how to make information really work for people, and look good at the same time. 

Methodology of Visualization (Sketching)
with Matthew Zywica

This class should have been called sketching for mastery. We focused on making communicative sketches that convey ideas, people and places successfully, at various levels of realism. I'm still a beginner but I learned alot from this class, I just need to keep putting in the hours.  


The Master of Design core courses at Carnegie Mellon include both theory and practice of interaction design.

Graduate Design Seminar 1
with Cameron Tonkinwise

Introduction to Design Studies

Graduate Design Colloquium

Introduction to work of the CMU design faculty

Graduate Design Studio 1:
Visualizing Complex Information
with Dan Boyarski

Visual design studio course with both print and motion graphics projects.

Graduate (digital) Prototyping
with Brian Staszel

Brief introduction to a variety of digital prototyping methods from low-fi paper prototypes and click-through, to Javascript, Processing, and videosketches.

Graduate Studio II
with Peter Scupelli

Interaction design studio featuring a semester-long interaction design team project.

Research Methods in Human Centered Design
with Bruce Hannington

An introduction to design research methods, including co-design, taught in conjunction with Studio II.


As a Communications Planning and Information Design (CPID) student, a sub-program of the interaction design masters, I also studied the intersection of communications and design, including how to utilize written content as well as visual elements to produce the desired audience effect.

Narrative and Argument
with David Kaufer

This courses applies an iterative design approach to written communications. Peer-reviewed drafts are utilized to help students learn to produce a specific desired effect. From bringing a scene to life through scenic writing, to helping readers accomplish a complex task via instructional writing, writing is used as a means to an end – writing as design method if you will.

Graduate Design Seminar II:
Topics in Communication Design
with Suguru Ishizaki

In this course, CPID students intermix with PhD students from the English and HCI departments to endeavor to apply classical and modern rhetorical theories to a communications design context.



Prior to joining the CMU program I took several continuing education design courses, and of course I also draw on my undergraduate education to inform my design practice.

Emily Carr University of Art and Design, 2011
Design Critical Thinking
Adobe Illustrator
Perspective Drawing

Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 2009
Introduction to Industrial Design

Boston University, 2004
Persuasion and Public Opinion
Principles of Sociology
Principles and Practices of Public Relations
Introduction to Public Policy
Introductory Microeconomic Analysis
… and many more

University of Maryland, 2004
Intensive Arabic Institute

Four semesters of college Arabic language instruction packed into eight-weeks (!)
Also included cultural discussions and field trips.

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