Work background, speaking, publishing, and tools and methods that inform my work.

Work Background

For more details, see my LinkedIn profile or curriculum vitae for my full academic resume

Drawbridge, Inc

Co-founder, VP of Product Development and Design / 2011 – present
I co-founded this company with my colleagues at Michigan State University, with Eli Review as the flagship product. My role at Drawbridge is to manage day-to-day operations with existing products, help develop new ideas for products, and find other businesses to add to our portfolio. Responsibilities include:

  • Identify opportunities to acquire or collaborate with other educational technology companies or products through networking or market research
  • Evaluate other products or companies for acquisition into company portfolio, including detailed technical audits and competitive analysis
  • Consult for other educational technology companies in need of assistance with product strategy, design, engineering, or customer support
  • Lead business and product strategy for company’s flagship product—Eli Review—including maintaining the product roadmap and planning/monitoring Key Performance Indicators

Eli Review (full case study)

Co-Inventor, Head of Product / 2014 – present
I launched this product with my co-inventors in 2010 as the first product for Drawbridge, Inc. It became a fully commercial product in 2014, at which time I took on a full-time leadership role. I keep the product functional and stable, design and oversee the development of new features, and provide customer support across multiple channels. Responsibilities include:

  • Define and execute the product strategy for web-based SaaS educational technology, leading a collaborative team of seven internal stakeholders and an offshore development team in building and maintaining a SaaS educational technology product with zero venture funding
  • Create and manage strategic planning materials including whitepaper, a product feature list, requirements and specifications, use cases, documentation, and a development timeline and use these materials to guide company strategy and effective scrum rituals
  • Prioritize development by maintaining an ongoing feature and support backlog driven by business objectives, customer feedback from multiple channels (sales, support, etc.), and product analytics
  • Create data reports using custom SQL queries for Key Performance Indicators regarding customer and revenue growth, performance targets, and customer retention for use by stakeholders, developers, and sales teams
  • Conduct UX/UI research and testing to validate product ideas and features using a range of methods (e.g. contextual inquiry, surveys, focus groups) and genres (e.g. wireframes, design comps, workflow diagrams)
  • Build user interfaces using semantic HTML and Javascript, conduct routine QA on all developer output, and regularly test all features for usability and accessibility, including supporting and responding to regular accessibility and security audits by prospective customers

Materials: see all case studies and writing samples related to Eli Review

Michigan State University

Adjunct Professor / 2007 – present
I have taught courses to undergraduate and graduate students as a fixed-term faculty member at Michigan State University for more than ten years. I have also served on curriculum committees and helped develop brand new courses. My student evaluations are consistently excellent and my programmatic teaching evaluations have lead to consistent merit-based raises. Courses taught (with official descriptions):

  • Writers Workshop (AL 201) – Development of writing skills involved in learning and in thinking about and critically reading complex texts.
  • Introduction to Web Authoring (WRA 210) – Analyzing, evaluating, and authoring Web sites. Principles of design rhetoric. Practices of Web accessibility.
  • Advanced Web Authoring (WRA 410) – Developing and maintaining large-scale, interactive Web sites. Visual design, usability, audio and video integration, ongoing site management, and web accessibility.
  • Digital Rhetoric (WRA 415) – Rhetorical, social, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of electronic writing and publishing. Rhetorical dynamics of computer-mediated writing spaces such as the Internet, World Wide Web, e-mail, and synchronous chat.
  • Content Management (WRA 420) – Applied theory and best practices for content management. Single-source publishing for digital and online formats. Managing dynamic and distributed content production. Issues in digital writing, technical editing, and intellectual property.
  • Interaction Design (WRA 482) – Design of information systems for professional writers. Pitching ideas. Developing information and interfaces. User-centered design lifecycle. Activity analysis, object-oriented modeling, prototyping, and technical specifications, and implementation planning.

Case Study: See my sample teaching materials from Content Management (WRA 420)

Special Interest Group on the Design of Communications (SIGDOC)

Board of Directors, Website Manager / 2016 – 2017
In this role as a board member of this professional academic organization, I served as a bridge between academia and industry. I advised the other board on many issues of industry outreach and engagement. Most importantly, I was responsible for safeguarding the organization’s online assets and managing its websites. Responsibilities included:

  • Audited content spanning almost ten years of an online presence
  • Developed and implemented a content strategy for publications and conferences
  • Organized archival information and developed shared online drives
  • Identified and addressed security issues and vulnerabilities in existing WordPress sites
  • Automated many maintenance tasks, including regular WordPress backups
  • Wrote comprehensive documentation for maintenance and sustainability

Case Study: the full story of my work to make maintain SIGDOC’s websites and make that work sustainable

Red Cedar Solutions Group

User Experience Designer / 2011 – 2013
In this role at Red Cedar Solutions Group, I primarily contributed to contract projects with the Department of Education for the State of Michigan. I worked to improve the experiences of existing systems, design specifications, and interfaces for new systems. Responsibilities included:

  • Led user research for all products in company’s portfolio—from prototypes to mature products—to determine customer needs and develop feature prioritization, using methods like surveys, cognitive walkthroughs, interactive demos, and app analytics
  • Wrote and managed strategic planning materials for all products, including product feature lists, requirements and specifications, use cases, and documentation for use with all stakeholders, including users and developers
  • Created detailed design materials, including wireframes, comps, and interactive prototypes for validating product ideas, steering development, and guiding quality assurance testing
  • Conducted rigorous quality assurance testing on all developer work to assure that the product conformed to requirements and met all standards, including accessibility and usability

Writing Rhetoric and American Cultures, Michigan State University

Website Manager, Intern Coordinator / 2010-2012
I was hired to completely overhaul of the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) Department website, with an eye toward better marketing its program to undergraduates. Part of what I ended up doing was only tangentially related to the website, rather for the culture of the program, which had no presence on social media. This initiative resulted in a sustainable, long-term programmatic change where, more than five years later, the department still has a vibrant and active website and social media presence.

  • Developed extensive communication strategy (subjects, voice, etc), still in use
  • Rebranded all department content, bringing it inline with university brand standards
  • Rebuilt the department website inside a content management system (WordPress)
  • Wrote extensive documentation for maintenance and upkeep of all assets
  • Created an internship program dedicated to running the department’s social accounts
  • Managed first batches of interns and developed management and evaluation metods

Writing in Digital Environments Research Center, Michigan State University

User Experience Researcher / 2007 – 2011
I was the lead designer and developer on projects that required creation of new technology to support instructional or research goals. My project work resulted in multiple prototypes, publications, and a company (Drawbridge, Inc) which then spun out of the university to commercialize the knowledge and IP we created. Responsibilities included:

  • Lead the design process for experimental projects (invention, iterative design, agile development)
  • Built functional prototypes, doing both front and back-end engineering
  • Conducted user research, including contextual inquiry and ethnography
  • Conducted usability testing, including extensive iterative development based on feedback
  • Engaged in scholarly research, including publications and presentations to share work with colleagues and community

Case Study: see the community-centered research project “Archive 2.0 and the Samaritans

Speaking (selected)

  • VideoTeachers vs Robots: Information Architecture and Assistive Artificial Intelligence – Information Architecture Summit, March 2017
  • SlidesBalancing the How of Digital Tools with the Why When Designing Technology-Heavy Writing Courses  (with Dawn Opel), Computers & Writing, May 2017
  • SlidesBetter Learning Technologies: Taking Action to Reframe #edtech Development for Writers and Writing Teachers (with Bill Hart-Davidson and Melissa Meeks) – College Conference on Composition and Communication, April 2016
  • Slides – Designing for Learning: A Critique of Academic Software User Experience – Ignite UX Michigan, October 2014

Publishing (selected)

Tools, Skills, and Methods

Core Skills

  • Writing
  • Feedback
  • Listening
  • Revision and Iteration

Product Management

  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Requirements Gathering
  • Feature Prioritization
  • Roadmapping
  • Backlog Grooming
  • Go-to-Market and Marketing Strategy
  • Competitive Analysis

Tech and Tools

  • Front-end development: HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, libraries and frameworks
  • Back-end development: PHP, MySQL, Apache, AWS
  • Versioning and other tools: Git, GitHub, Jira
  • Platforms: Cloudflare, Alert Logic, Filestack, WordPress/CMS
  • Design Tools: Adobe Suite, Omnigraffle, Sketch, Final Cut Pro, Camtasia
  • Prototyping: Keynote, Balsamiq, Sketch, Figma, InVision
  • Social + Search: Yoast, Hootsuite, Mailchimp, Canva
  • Analytics: Zoho CRM, Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics,  Facebook Page Insights


  • Research: competitive analysis, card sorting, contextual inquiry, user stories
  • Modeling: sketching, wireframes, comps, storyboards, workflow diagrams
  • Validation: heuristic evaluation, task analysis, A/B testing
  • Assessment: accessibility evaluation, usability testing
  • Documentation: user guides, tutorials, video, screenshots


Michigan State University

MA, Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing / 2007

MA, Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy / 2005

Lake Superior State University

BA, English Language and Literature / 2002