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I did it! I just submitted my application to the Master of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering program at the University of Washington. Ever since I started taking courses from them with the Certificate of Technical Writing and Editing, I’ve been itching to continue working in that department. I thought I’d take a moment and share with you my entrance letter to the program. I’m quite proud of how it turned out, and I’m grateful to all those who read it and commented on it along the way!

I still remember the moment I chose my undergraduate major. It was in a Formal Logic class freshman year. Near the end of the term, we took a day away from formalized notation to discuss the philosophy of logic. Our discussion had mirrored my intellectual pursuits in a way that no other class ever had, and as I walked away, I knew Philosophy would be my major. That same feeling hit when I began taking HCDE courses at the University of Washington.

I found my passions for design, aesthetic, and usability reflected in the courses that comprised the Certificate of Technical Writing and Editing. The Master’s Program will allow me to continue a course of study that integrates the core principle of the department—uniting the interaction of product and user—with a formalized study of how we learn. I will ground my practical experience with a deeper understanding of the human-technology connection, by teaming the formalized pathway of User-Centered Design with coursework in cognitive science and instructional design. This will allow me to make informed decisions about design that are both aesthetic and optimized for human interface.

Good design has always been dear to me. As an child, I spent a lot of time building Lego® landscapes, and I would carefully consider every piece of the structure. I had a vision that I pursued tenaciously. That attitude has continued through to my adulthood. I always strive to the highest quality, never limited by what exists in the world, but relentlessly pursuing the perfect form.

And now, that pursuit drives me to develop human-centered online learning platforms that engage users on a deeper level. In my five years as an online public school teacher, I have experienced how antiquated technology hinders the not-for-profit world. Getting and maintaining the expertise and technology to deliver quality products is a constant struggle. It has been my goal with every organization to maintain high standards, regardless of limited resources, and I’m eager to apply my studies to those ends.

This ties directly to my role with Northwest Regional Primary Care Association, a non-profit organization that works with community health centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Our primary mission is to support local clinics in providing quality care to those who would otherwise have limited access. We fulfill this mission through three focus areas: providing support for the health center workforce, facilitating community connections and partnerships, and delivering quality learning opportunities. As Distance Learning Coordinator, it’s my job to develop, deliver, and manage our online learning platform. With this degree, I will continue to pursue the perfect form through distance learning.

Enrolling in the UW’s Human Centered Design and Engineering Master’s Program is the clearest next step in my career. By continuing to develop my skills and expertise with this degree, I can help push non-profit education to be the best that it can. My sincerest desire is to deliver the same quality design to organizations with limited resources as to those with many.

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