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Archive: edUi 2015 Conference

November 9 - 11

Charlottesville, Virginia


Abby Covert

The School of Visual Arts

Abby Covert is an independent information architect in New York City. She specializes in delivering a collaborative information architecture (IA) process and teaching those that she works with along the way.

She speaks and writes under the pseudonym “Abby the IA,” focusing on sharing information architecture content with those working within the design and technology communities. She is also the author of How to Make Sense of Any Mess, a book about information architecture for everybody.

Abby teaches IA at The School of Visual Arts and is also the current president of the Information Architecture Institute, a global non-profit membership organization focused on empowering IA leadership, currently serving members in 73 countries.


Chad Haefele

UNC Chapel Hill Libraries

Chad Haefele is the Emerging Technologies Librarian at UNC Chapel Hill. As part of the User Experience department he explores evaluation and improvement of the campus libraries’ web presence and other points of interaction with users. His areas of research interest include usability testing, personal information management, ebooks, mobile devices, and gaming in education. His blog is at Chad is hopelessly addicted to his iPad and smartphone.


Conny Liegl

California Polytechnic State University

Conny Liegl has been working in higher education for more than a decade. She is the lead designer for web, graphic, and user experience at Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Conny builds intuitive interfaces to make people happier, more productive, and less frustrated. She translates between developers and users, to help teams transform user-focused ideas into engaging and powerful tools.

She specializes in user-centered design and has a background in web usability and accessibility, social media marketing strategies, as well as e-learning technologies and theories. Conny holds a Master of Arts in Information Science from Saarland University, Germany.


Dan Willis

Cranky Productions

Dan Willis is a user experience designer, consultant, author and frequent speaker at local, national and international conferences. He co-wrote Designing the Conversation, a facilitation handbook for UX professionals. He has been running UX design teams, UX design workshops, and multi-disciplinary design sessions for more than a decade.


David Poteet


David Poteet is the founder and president of NewCity, an interactive design agency with particular expertise in education, science and culture. An alumnus of Virginia Tech, David has been involved with the web since its earliest days, creating the first website for Radford University in 1994 while working as a designer there. David left to start NewCity in 1995.

David teaches regular workshops on user experience and web content. David has led strategy and user experience for clients including the American Battle Monuments Commission, the University of Leicester, and the UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies.


Denise Jacobs

The Creative Dose

Denise Jacobs

Denise Jacobs is a Speaker + Author who teaches techniques to make the creative process more fluid, methods for making work environments more conducive to creative productivity, and practices for sparking innovation. She is the Founder + Creativity Evangelist of The Creative Dose, a Creativity + Innovation Collective.

A tech industry veteran and web expert, Denise is the author of The CSS Detective Guide and co-author of the Smashing Book #3 1/3 and Interact with Web Standards. She is also the Chief Unicorn of Rawk The Web and the Head Instigator of The Creativity (R)Evolution.

At edUi 2015 Denise will be delivering the keynote Banish Your Inner Critic to Unleash Creativity.


Emily Daly

Duke University Libraries

Emily Daly is Head of Assessment & User Experience at Duke University Libraries in Durham, NC.  She leads Duke Libraries’ website team and conducts user research related to the Libraries’ website, as well as library services, collections, and spaces. Emily also serves as Librarian for Education and coordinates the Libraries’ Assessment Team and Undergraduate and Graduate Student Advisory Boards. Prior to working at Duke, Emily taught high school English for a short time, then served as the teen librarian at Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming, as well as librarian in Durham’s Southern High School. She received her BA in English/secondary education from NC State and her MS in library science from UNC-Chapel Hill.


Emily King

College of Southern Nevada

Emily King is the Digital Services Librarian at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). She oversees all aspects of the web presence for CSN Library Services. She is passionate about creating positive and intuitive user experiences for all patrons using the library online. Her research interests include content management strategy, creating new learning models that take advantage of emerging technologies, and best practices in designing online learning environments.


Emily Mitchell

SUNY Oswego

Emily Mitchell is the Webmaster Librarian at SUNY Oswego’s Penfield Library. This is to say that she lives to do battle with villainous CMSs, stubborn stakeholders, confounding content, and obfuscating organization. She hopes to ride off into the sunset someday with her good friends usability, CSS, and clear writing.


Eric Sembrat

Georgia Institute of Technology

My name is Eric Sembrat, and I am a nerd extraordinaire.

By day, I work at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Web Manager and Lead Drupal Architect for the College of Engineering. I lead institutional initiatives such as WordPress adoption, Sass theming strategies and implementations, and Web Design Supplier Contracts.

By night, I am currently completing my Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University. My research focuses on the instructional value of sandbox game design in multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs).

Burning the midnight oil, I serve as the President of the Atlanta Drupal User’s Group, Vice President of the Georgia Tech Drupal User’s Group, and founder of USGweb.


Fareine Suarez

University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics

Fareine Suarez is a high-impact, results-driven, creative higher ed professional with functional experience in digital media, content management, and admissions. She currently manages the event marketing and communication strategy for the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago. Prior to moving to Chicago, she was the assistant director of marketing and admissions at the UVA Darden School of Business and worked as a freelance photographer and videographer.

In her spare time, Fareine volunteers for 826CHI, a Chicago-based creative writing and tutoring center, takes aerial dancing and improv classes, and creates art with local filmmakers.



Gaurav Gupta

Virginia Commonwealth University

Gaurav Gupta is an IT Analyst in the Office of the Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success at Virginia Commonwealth University. In his current position Gaurav wears multiple hats. As a web designer and developer, he builds websites and web applications with an eye towards simplicity and usability. In his administrator role, he has led the implementation of University’s online course evaluation system and manages its day-to-day operations. As a tech expert, he gets to play with the latest instructional technology.


Greg Breeding

Journey Group


Greg Breeding makes art on some of the world’s smallest canvases—postage stamps. As an art director for the U.S. Postal Service, he’s designed nearly a dozen stamps, including those featuring Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Harry Potter, and Batman.

In 1992, Breeding co-founded Journey Group, a content marketing agency where he currently serves as president and creative director. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, Lyndee, and their three children. When not at work, he enjoys mountain biking in the Virginia countryside and serving on the board of a local arts organization, New City Arts Initiative.


Henrik Joreteg


Henrik Joreteg recently finished a 5 1/2 year tenure as lead JS developer at &yet, where he wrote scores of JS apps dozens of different ways, to freelance as a Javascript developer, consultant, and trainer.

Henrik has pioneered many techniques for building stateful JavaScript Applications, especially those with a realtime aspect. Most recently, he led development on the Ampersand.js framework that has seen rapid adoption among many prominent Backbone.js developers. He also created the SimpleWebRTC library,, is the author of the book “Human JavaScript”, and frequently speaks at JS events.

Having released over 100 JavaScript libraries, Henrik believes in open source and wants to help developers push the web to the next level.


Hope Voelkel

Journey Group

First and foremost a problem-solver, Hope has worked with a variety of groups to tease out the heart of their brand story and communicate it winsomely online. She leads Journey Group’s team of writers, editors, photographers, and videographers in solving complicated communication problems.


Jean Sampson

McGuffey Art Center

Jean Sampson has distinguished herself as a poet  as well as a painter and teacher.  She was the featured artist/poetry for the Fall 2005 edition of Streetlight and has been nominated for a Pushcart prize.  A self taught poet,  she relies on her image-making ability and her love of words for the crafting of poems.  Jean’s evocative abstract paintings sell in local galleries,  venues in New York and High Point, NC, where her paintings are featured in commercial showrooms and interior designer’s staging.

She studied  painting for many years with her beloved friend and mentor:  fine artist, designer, printmaker,  Morton P. Traylor  (1918 – 1996), founder of the Virginia Art Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia after graduating from Ferrum College.

Presently, she teaches Drawing for Chickens and Jean’s Gutsy Abstract Oil Painting classes in her studio in McGuffey Art Center four times a year. She derives great joy from making art and poetry accessible to the artist and poet who lives within each of us.  A Charlottesville, Virginia native, Jean  maintains her  studio at  McGuffey Art Center in downtown Charlottesville  –originally the McGuffey Elementary School– from which she graduated in 1960.


Jeff Everhart

Longwood University

Jeff Everhart works at Longwood University as an Instructional Technology Trainer and Adjunct Professor of English. He spends most of his time helping people solve educational problems using technology and working on his own open projects in web development and the Digital Humanities. Jeff is a self-taught coder and believes that the best way to learn is by building cool things that help other people. When Jeff is unplugged, he enjoys playing the guitar, lifting heavy things at CrossFit, growing his own vegetables, and spending time outdoors with his wife and two dogs.


Jenny Slaughter


Maker of things and fixer of problems, Jenny made her first website in sixth grade. She started freelancing in high school, and by college she was building her own CMS (though she didn’t say whether that ended up being a good idea).

She studied web design at Radford University, where she designed, developed, and directed the student-run online magazine. Before she came to NewCity, she worked as the sole web designer/developer at Ferrum College during a site redesign and implementation.  Now she puts that same crazy-awesome drive to good use, taking ideas and making them go.

Tell her something is impossible, or difficult, or maybe even just questionable, and she will find a way to do it — better. She’s conquered custom JavaScript pieces, flexible filters, complex polygon and parallax templates, and other things that started out with “Hey, I wonder if…?”.


Jill Stover Heinze

University of Virginia Libraries

Jill manages the User Experience Team at the U.Va. Library, where she is also a member of the Library’s Extended Leadership Team. Jill began her academic library career as the Undergraduate Services Coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She became an invited speaker and writer on the topic of library marketing, earning recognition as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker for her efforts. After her tenure at VCU, she entered the private sector as a competitive intelligence analyst and remained active in the Competitive Intelligence Division of the Special Libraries Association. Today, Jill is thrilled to bring her library, market research, and analytical skills to her passion for connecting users with the library. She shares her day-to-day work on the User Experience at the U.Va. Library blog.


Jimmy Chandler

UX Principles

Jimmy Chandler, aka uxprinciples, loves to work collaboratively with people to create engaging online experiences. His first web-related job was in 1997, and he has been on a non-stop mission since then to improve his skills and teach others what he has learned. Jimmy is very active in the Mid-Atlantic UX community as a speaker, mentor, and organizer. He recently relocated from the Washington, DC area to Brooklyn, NY. Jimmy’s love (some may say obsession) of food and restaurants began at a young age.


JoAnna Hunt

Blackboard Inc

JoAnna Hunt enjoys solving problems and making the digital world easier for people to navigate. For the past nine years at Blackboard, Inc., she’s worked to improve the design and usability of globally recognized educational technology platforms. When she recently accepted the role of Accessibility Manager at Blackboard, her commitment to helping others became focused on the disabled community. JoAnna brings a designer’s knowledge and perspective to building sustainable practices around inclusive design and education. JoAnna’s desire to enhance the educational journey of others originates from what she has witnessed firsthand—the struggles and triumphs of family and friends with disabilities.


Jon Gosier

TED Fellow

Jon Gosier is a serial tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist working at the intersection of data science and outcome-driven user experience (also known as outcome design). The 34-year-old app creator, innovator, and investor is based in Philadelphia, PA.

Gosier took a non-traditional route to becoming an investor. Having developed a successful model for inclusive investing which allowed middle-class individuals invest in startups, he co-founded Third Cohort Capital with fellow alum of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. Now Gosier is revolutionizing other areas of venture capital as the founder of Cross Valley Capital and partner at Rokk3r Labs in Miami. He is also a huge advocate for investing in tech companies in emerging markets through his Appfrica Fund.

He has received numerous awards for his work, including being listed as one of “The New Faces of Black Leadership” by TIME Magazine in 2015; gaining wide recognition for his 2014 TED talk on “Trickle-Down Techonomics,” which explored the unintended consequences of technical innovation; and winning the Knight News Challenge in 2013 and 2011.


Joshua Dodson

Southern New Hampshire University

Joshua Dodson is a Google Analytics qualified web expert who has worked with numerous colleges and universities to improve their web presence and better understand their user trends. His extensive back-end web knowledge is equally matched with an understanding of the importance of driving results on the front end—and proving return on investment. His in-depth SEO experience ties campaigns to results to show true impact.

Before joining Southern New Hampshire University as Director of SEO, Dodson worked as Web Strategy and SEO Administrator for Eastern Kentucky University. He has taught hundreds of higher education marketing professionals how to use analytics and SEO through the courses he teaches for Higher Ed Experts.

Dodson has presented at industry conferences on advanced web analytics, social media, open source technology, and other topics. He has published extensively on WordPress and marketing analytics.


Julie M. Davis

Clarkson University

Julie M. Davis serves as Director of Web Development at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, where she also teaches as an adjunct instructor in the Communication & Media Department. She has taught designing for website usability, photography, painting & drawing, digital imagery, digital studio I and II, and 2-D digital design.

Davis holds a Bachelor of Art in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Art from the University of South Carolina Upstate, a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication and a Master of Science in Information Technology from Clarkson University. She also holds a Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University.


Kim Vassiliadis

UNC Chapel Hill Libraries

Kim Vassiliadis heads the User Experience department for the UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries. In this role, she is responsible for evaluating and improving user experiences for both physical and virtual environments through interface design, web usability, and user studies. In 2013 she spearheaded a complete redesign of the library’s web presence. This included working with stakeholders, collaborating with staff, developing a content strategy, designing the look and feel, and completing usability studies throughout the process.


Larry Becker

UVA Darden School of Business

As Senior Director of Digital Marketing, Larry Becker leads online marketing strategy and execution for the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and its brand portfolio, directing digital advertising, analytics, social media, search, and online content marketing, as well as the management of the Darden website. Prior to working at Darden, Larry held executive positions at RKG, a leading digital advertising agency, and Crutchfield Corporation, a national retailer of consumer electronics. As an e-commerce and online marketing consultant, Larry’s clients have included national brands in publishing, apparel, luxury goods, and financial services. Larry has been an invited speaker for organizations including Internet Retailer,,, and the DMA. He is excited to be participating in edUI 2015!


Lauren Massari

UVA Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities

Lauren received a Bachelor of Architectural History from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from the University at Buffalo.  She works at the University of Virginia in the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities creating 3D modeling using traditional methods.


Melissa Beaver


Melissa is Director of User Experience at NewCity. She loves peeling apart complex user interactions and uncovering unexpected nuances in the way they use technology. She came to the UX field by way of graduate studies in information science, human computer interaction, French, and musicology at Indiana University Bloomington, where she became fascinated in how music evolves structurally in response to cultural change.

She’s given up the grad school caffeine habit (sort of), but still loves poring over data to discover patterns in complex information systems (like websites). Plus she can slay a forlane by Maurice Ravel at dinner parties.


Michael Carvin


Michael Carvin is an independent consultant who works to improve the relationship between organizations and their customers. He has consulted with LinkedIn, American Red Cross, Thomson Reuters, BarclayCard, and other financial/insurance, governmental, and non-profit sectors independently and alongside some of the east coast’s leading agencies.


Nathan Rogers

Cleveland Museum of Art

Nathan is a software developer at the Cleveland Museum of Art with a background in user experience. His passion for sketchnoting stems from workshops and the opportunity to practice at conferences over the past two years. Nathan uses his experience to develop applications for the web to deliver information where and when it is needed. He is also a librarian and loves to talk about other aspects of experience beyond just web sites and mobile.


Paul Koch


Photo of Paul Koch

As Senior Digital Analyst at Viget, Paul uses analytics to help clients define, measure, and optimize their web presences.

With an eye toward useful, doable, and ROI-rooted recommendations and insights, Paul leads the analytics efforts for several of Viget’s higher-ed projects in addition to clients such as Stanley Black & Decker, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.


Peter Vogel

Learning Tree International, PH&V Information Services

Peter Vogel is many things: facilitator, author, and software developer. At the nexus of those three disciplines is a passion for helping people understand their organization and then using that understanding to deliver applications that allow both users and the organization to achieve their goals. Peter founded Purity, Hope, & Virtue Information Services (PH&V IS) to help his clients in two ways: To help them discover what matters about their organization, then leverage that understanding (and current technology) to deliver enriching user experiences to their staff, partners, and clients. Peter has a wide range of clients, from start-ups to national banks, but the projects that mean the most to him are working with organizations conserving our cultural heritage (currently, for example, Peter is helping to deliver a web-based application for managing the 92nd Street Y archives).

Peter writes frequently about UX issues for various industry magazines and recently wrote Learning Tree International’s UX/UI Design course, taught in North America and Europe.


Philip Ribbens


As NewCity’s Analytics Specialist, Philip Ribbens pores over the most intricate tracking details and spits out statistics that not only turn all those numbers into something useful, but tell you exactly what to do to craft an effective web experience.

With a B.S. in computer and information science from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and a concentration in business information systems, Philip is a stats guy at heart.

Philip devotes much of his free time applying those mad numbers skills to his other love: basketball. He analyzes the sport as a player, spectator, and from the sidelines as a volunteer for a local boys’ basketball team.


Rachel DeLauder


Rachel is NewCity’s resident wordsmith, who lives for distilling messages down to their most essential core. A word nerd at heart, she swoons over perfectly crafted copy and looks at communication challenges as just an opportunity to make the world a more logical, legible place.

Rachel specializes in taking piles of dusty, disorganized content and churning out laser-cut messages that serve a distinct purpose. She loves digging through existing content to uncover the defining pieces that make a client unique, then working with designers to tell the story.

She came to NewCity after seven years working with Virginia Tech’s Division of Student Affairs, where she managed publications and media relations for an in-house marketing team. She also has a BA in English and an MA in communication from Virginia Tech (making her a Hokie fan thrice over).

Rachel likes playing outdoors and exploring the twisty backroads of Virginia in her boyfriend’s race car. She can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the genre-bending genius of political entertainment news programs and their importance in the 2008 presidential election.


Shayne Brandon

UVA Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities

Shayne received a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State University.  He works at the University of Virginia in the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities as a system administrator but is currently exploring photogrammetry.


Steven Steiner

ICF Interactive

Steven Steiner is a UX Manager with ICF Interactive in Richmond, VA and an award-winning user experience professional. He has experience across all stages of internet and intranet websites and applications, from inception through development.

His duties include: crafting project plans; gathering requirements; creating content strategy, information architecture, wireframes, and prototypes; and conducting usability testing. His particular strength lies in his ability to successfully communicate with all stakeholders to reflect accurately the wants and needs of client goals in an optimized user experience that aligns with industry best practices.

He has worked with 30+ Fortune 500 brands across the medical, manufacturing, financial services and consumer product industries. A sample of those clients include Welch Allyn, AARP, Honeywell, Capital One, Kellogg’s, and Gatorade.


Terry Peters

ICF Interactive

Terry is a UX Manager at ICF Interactive with 10 years of Information Technology consulting experience. His background includes user research, concept ideation, information architecture, usability testing, wireframes, and many facilitation techniques.

He has supported new technology implementations as well as upgrades to existing technologies, and can guide clients from the initial brainstorm through the entire project life cycle to implementation. Terry has worked with many technologies, including SharePoint, Adobe Experience Manager, and many other CMSs, and can lead a team through a waterfall or agile workflow process to create well-thought-out and engaging systems.

Terry has worked with many clients from the retail, financial, and entertainment industries as well as state and local government agencies. A sample of those clients include Amway, The Nature Conservancy, Johnson Controls, nTelos, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Chick-fil-A.


Val Head

Val Head is a designer based in lovely Pittsburgh, PA. Her work ranges from projects on the web to interactive installations to print. She is the author of The Pocket Guide to CSS Animations, teaches CSS Animations on, and hosts the All The Right Moves tutorial screencast.

You can find her on stage speaking at events like An Event Apart and encouraging others to do the same as the co-host of the Ladies in Tech podcast. She also founded the popular Web Design Day conference, and leads workshops around the world on Interface animation for the web.

Val will be leading a half day workshop at edUi 2015 called Taking Interface Animation from Good to Great.


Valerie Harness

UVA Darden School of Business

As Website Project & Supporting Systems Manager for the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Valerie works with multiple stakeholders across Grounds to ensure the best user experience across Darden’s multiple websites, portals and digital marketing efforts. She trains web editors, troubleshoots, gathers metrics and is ever in the bold pursuit of site improvement.

Valerie enjoys serving as a small business consult, working with nonprofit organizations, retail shops, and educational groups to improve their digital presence and goal measurement from tip to tail. In her spare time, Valerie runs a rather quirky Etsy shop that specializes in custom crocheted replicas of pets and people.


Zach Robbins


Zach Robbins is a Digital Strategist at Viget, an independent agency headquartered near Washington, DC. In his role, he helps clients understand their digital landscape and how it can better help them achieve their business objectives through a consistent strategy. Zach has worked for a wide range of clients to not only plan but also execute such strategies. Some of these clients include ESPN, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Duke University, The White House Historical Association, Bill of Rights Institute, and LearnZillion. Zach also leads efforts in content creation, focusing on photography and film production, to help support client stories and projects with integrated content in digital mediums. He has helped direct and execute such projects for clients that include PUMA, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Brian Regan, and EarthEcho International.