laura.bell@ac4d.com

Student

Laura Bell

Laura’s background is in GIS mapping and government data. This type of work has allowed her to flex her creativity and strategic thinking strengths to innovate workflows, and improve decision making through data driven insights. She is passionate about making information accessible and useful for stakeholders, and excited to attend the AC4D program to focus on developing skills to account for the human aspect of technology solutions.

She grew up in Austin, TX and graduated from UT Austin with a BA in Geography. Later, she moved to Chicago for a few years where she wore a winter coat that looked like a sleeping bag, found out that professional sports teams are a big deal, and met her future husband. She enjoys trying new things and hanging out in the yard with her Great Pyr, Cass.

Recent blog posts

Feeling like an impostor

Over the last couple weeks we’ve been learning about impostor syndrome to get a better understanding of what impact it may play in women’s higher education trajectory from cultural background to employment. To do this we first needed to get a better understanding how we were going to identify when someone may have experienced these feelings. Below…

Insights from the Castle

For anyone who has been following Jen and I on our design research journey with Castle Hill Fitness, you know that we last posted about mapping concepts and interactions we found in the data and called them service slices. Since then, we’ve been working on developing insights. Insights were presented to us as being provocative statements of…

Service Slices from the Castle

It’s the start of the second quarter for us at AC4D, but Jen and I were busy working over the break on the next step in the process for our Castle Hill Fitness project. For this portion we learned about and created service slices. Creating these allowed us to examine the behavior we observed in…

Diving into design thinking

For our last assignment in our design theory class we read and discussed articles about design thinking. Each seemed to be pretty similar to me in their enthusiasm for creative thinking and how this can be applied to problem solving. As someone who is new to design it can be difficult for me to understand some…

Themes from the Castle

Since our last post about our project with Castle Hill Fitness, Jen and I have transcribed all the interviews we did, and added thousands of pieces of data to the walls of our workspace. This data consists of broken down utterances from participant interviews. From there we attempted to group similar data together based on…

Sketch Library

This last week in our applications class we broke into three teams and brainstormed interaction ideas based on our team’s category. My team focused on home and leisure interactions. After we came up with a long list of things people do in the home and leisure realm we chose a few of the interactions to…

A semi fictional story involving a dog

In theory class we’re still reading articles, and thinking of creative ways to process how we interpret and feel about them. The last set we read left us thinking about poverty and what the author’s viewpoints and our own were about poverty and design. We then created a story to showcase these. I like many others…

Stories from the Castle

Over the last few weeks, Jen and I have been conducting design research for our project with Castle Hill Fitness. At the beginning of this assignment we created a research plan on our own which focused on the green initiatives that the gym utilizes. The goal was to learn about the impact these may have…

Reflecting on week 4

Our fourth week at AC4D was just as busy as the previous ones. In theory class I presented the diagram I made showing 8 author’s viewpoints on design research, and my own interpretation of what design research should and should not be. I think this went well, and I received a lot of positive feedback.…

Fewer words more pictures

Last Saturday we learned some techniques for sketching people and faces. Specifically about how to place body parts and make things look proportional. For our assignments we practiced drawing figures in different positions as well as adding them into a scene. This allowed us to practice perspective sketching and drawing people. Here are some of…

Design Research in Space

In our theory class the last couple weeks we’ve read articles from eight different authors and discussed their views on the role of design research. From this we were to create a diagram with an x and y axis to plot these different positions. The x axis of the graph was to show the range between “designing with” and…

Transcription life

This last week, we completing more interviews, and have been trying to catch up with the transcriptions for all of them. The transcriptions are time consuming, but interesting. As I listen to them, I always catch things that I missed in the moment. It’s also very apparent when transcribing how different people’s speech patterns are from…

Reflecting on week 2

This last week I presented my first theory diagram, began conducting research interviews, drew tons of shapes, and sketched the same object seven times. Presentations at AC4D are followed by a critique from the instructors which can be pretty detailed. One thing I’ve realized is that my perception of my delivery can be completely different from the audience’s experience.…

Risk advisory levels of the roles of design in society

In our theory class we’ve read five different authors and discussed their views on the role of design in society. Our assignment was to then distill down these views and plot them on an axis of importance based on our own interpretations. When plotting these different positions of the role of design in society on…

Things are moving

I’m coming to the end of my first official week at AC4D, and it was a whirlwind. I had hoped that the estimate of 60hrs of work/week for school was slightly exaggerated, but so far it seems pretty accurate. Everything felt like the timeline was half of what it should be, but it was also…

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