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Self-Development & Independent Study

Skill gaps and untapped potential signal opportunity for self-determined growth.

I subscribe to continuing education proactively and when I find gaps in my abilities. From self-initiated LUMA institute practitioner training, private pilot and instrument rating ground school, and flight training to more mandatory volunteer coaching and Japanese courses, I understand the value of self-directed study and education. Over the years, I've attended many workshops and classes to sharpen my skills for professional and volunteer work. And, I've even spent some time teaching junior campers art which turned out to be educational for me too.

The problem

Digital aviation products require rigorous prerelease testing. I had practice. But, significant features required additional scrutiny to pass a gated review process. While I had conducted many tests, I lacked formal training and the perspective of different methods. My skills felt lopsided towards moderating scripted tests.

Artifacts from my LUMA training

The LUMA solution


I enrolled in LUMA institute methods practitioner training in San Francisco to learn more about human-centered design. The two-day course refreshed several techniques where I was out of practice. I learned to refine and combine procedures to suit various challenges and strengthened my collaboration skills with strangers who were unaccustomed to design thinking. While I have design and research experience, I learned a lot from those with less experience about patience and directness. 

Textbooks, notebooks, computation tools and flight log

Areonautical Decision Making

I am currently learning to fly because I got carried away with ground school which I enrolled in for my current job at Boeing/Jeppesen Aviator. Initially, I wanted to understand our pilot user persona better and gain aeronautical decision-making skills and perspective on situational awareness. I enrolled in a private pilot ground school program at Renton Technical College.


I chose to immerse myself in classes adding instrument rating to my course schedule, which meant that I was in classes four nights a week in addition to reading and homework and my 9-5 Aviator design job. It was intense. I remember studying meteorology at 2 AM during a significant weather event that knocked out the power leading to a delay in our Zoom class the next day. What a break! Despite the stress, I have grown more eager to learn about academic and applied aviation. These days I'm flying out of RTN airport with my instructor.

My sloppy hiragana in the textbook

Japanese study

Early in my career while working for Square-Enix subsidiary UIEvolution, I was strongly encouraged to study Japanese to prepare for work with Panasonic in Osaka. I enjoyed the practice of handwriting in hiragana and katakana and the specific characteristics of Japanese grammar. I studied hard to become senesei no peto or teacher's pet. While I had studied French and Spanish in high school and college, Japanese was a different and welcome challenge.

Lambert House logo at the entrance of their facilities

Volunteer training and Lamber House volunteer work


I love volunteer work and spent several years as a computer lab monitor at Lambert House, where a 20-hour training program is mandatory. This education enforces many practical human-centered research skills such as active listening and disagreement mediation. I worked for years at Lambert House helping young people research music videos on You Tube, prepare resumés for jobs and helping to keep the peace. I was taught about direct communication and developed some appropriate friendships with at-risk young people who needed light support. They were my favorite group to march with in the parade by far.

Boeing team-building volunteer work at the food distribution center

Northwest Harvest training and volunteer work

I've trained and worked with Northwest Harvest pantry as a line monitor and sorting and portioning at the distribution center. My familiarity with the spectrum of folks who utilized the grocery line at the pantry near downtown Seattle changed the way I thought about those in need. I organized a team-building event with Boeing colleagues in 2019, helping us process 7,000 lbs of produce. I hoped that it would become a regular thing but 2020 had other plans.


Teaching at Camp Leo


I understand that teaching is challenging from work with the junior campers at Camp Leo. I taught a few art classes while camping on Mt Ranier, where we experimented with materials and techniques. I learned at least as much as I taught during those classes, which was a surprise considering the age of the students. Lessons in patience and flexibility while coaxing creativity, coaching technique, and understanding meaning abound in my work at Camp Leo. My experience teaching reinforced the belief that every student is also a teacher in their own right.

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