I am a writer, editor, and ethnographer. My writing can be found here.
Most recently I worked at Automatic directing and conducting user research and working on product design. Before this I was at Mule Design Studio, where I was both the design researcher and co-host of Let's Make Mistakes, a design podcast. Prior to all this, I wrote a dissertation on the practices and culture of clinicians with respect to the adoption of electronic health records (EHR).
In pursuit of my Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Irvine, I conducted longitudinal, ethnographic research in a networked group of ambulatory care clinics during the transition from a paper record system to an EHR. My research included participant observation, in-depth interviews, and surveys. It was funded in part by an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) R36 grant. In my dissertation, entitled “On or Off the Record: The Physician Experience of the Transition to Electronic Health Record,” I examine the critical role organizational culture plays in the way people learn about technology, identify issues, and manage problems. This can help clinicians, administrators, and designers anticipate stress, conflict, and the consequences of both.
I was also a member of the California team of the School Rights Project, a national, multi-site research project that explored the development of legal consciousness in high school students. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, and the Kauffman Foundation.
In 2003, I received a Master’s in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University. My thesis was entitled “Doomsday or Desire: Do Androids Dream of Robotic Lovers?” It explored the artistic representation of the machine in human form.
My past roles include Editor and Audience Development Manager for entertainment/video game content companies including IGN.com and UGO.com. At both companies I also worked as the industry’s first Affiliate Manager, in charge of maintaining relationships with and managing content from external content producers.
I am also known from that time for my editorial role at IGN.com: Ask Leah. For 2 ½ years, I was an advice columnist for video gamers. (Yes, really.) I developed the concept from the ground up: demonstrated proof of concept, developed editorial standards and did the legwork of generating community interest, from daily interactions with readers to being interviewed and doing promotions on major radio stations across the country. In total, I wrote, edited, and published nearly 1500 articles and daily columns. Best of all, my readers still remember me more than 10 years later and get in touch to tell me the positive impact Ask Leah had on their lives.
I'd love for you to get in touch with me too.