At present, I am a National Research Council Research Associate at the Pacific Disaster Center in Kihei Maui Hawaii. I am currently working DiveArch, a computational architecture for agent-based disaster information and visualization environments. My long-term research interests are in the design and development of information systems for disaster management, particularly in support for problem-solving and decision-making. I am particularly interested in understanding design for inexpert users -- users who need to learn about the task they are trying to accomplish as they are trying to accomplish it.
My interest in disaster management stems from my experiences as a disaster volunteer with the American Red Cross, specializing in technology support and operations management. I served in Baton Rouge LA on Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where I established a 100-seat data entry facility for processing client aid applications, and was later deputy manager for response technology. On Hurricane Ivan in 2004, I was in charge of field site technology support in Montgomery AL, and then directed computer operations in Pensacola FL. Most recently, I was the operations director for a chapter-run response to a multi-family fire in Mountain View CA, which displaced residents of 20 apartments from anywhere from two weeks to four months. As drill coordinator at the Palo Alto Area Chapter I planned a number of exercises and drills, including an earthquake exercise with the City of Palo Alto and an aviation exercise with San Jose Airport. I also teach first aid and CPR.
My industrial experience includes being a senior consultant for TecEd, where I worked on projects ranging from ethnographic studies, to web-based application interface design, to user interface design course development and delivery, for Cisco Systems, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems, among others. I was the lead user interface designer and manager for AutoCAD R13, and have held software engineering positions at Borland International and Xerox PARC. Prior to life with computers, I was a professional stage manager and lighting designer.
I hold a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, an MS in Computer Science from the University of Washington, and a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota. My dissertation, From Brains to Branch Points: Cognitive Constraints in Navigational Design, sought to understand how psychological knowledge can be made more readily available to design and designers, using spatial and navigational cognition as a case study.