UX Designer that codes.
Introducing Hannah Coley
Hello, my name is Hannah Coley. I am half-Korean and half-German/ Scottish/ Irish. I truly love my mixed heritage. I feel that it gives me a really unique perspective of the world. People with a mixed ethnic background always have struggles with their identity. My younger self also struggled with this. However, as I got older I realized that I didn’t need to fit into just one category. I am my own category and am proud of it. I love how unique I am and that I don’t fit neatly into any one category.
I have spent the majority of my life as a nomad because I grew up in a military family and am now a military spouse. Colorado is HOME. Colorado has my heart. I was born there and it is the place there I have spent the majority of my adolescence and 20’s. I have been lucky enough to have lived in a ton of cool and exciting places such as Germany, Korea, Washington D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. I am truly a child of the world.
I am truly a creative person at heart. I love solving complex problems in creative ways, but I also love painting, design, photography, graphic design, 3D printing, making things, and DIY projects. I want to be able to share my passion for all things beautiful with the world, hence the creation of this blog. This is the one space where I can combine my mish-mash of varying interests into one place to share with like-minded readers.
My Scientific & Engineering Career
I have been a polymer chemist/ materials engineer for the past 10 years. I have a master’s degree in Material Science & Engineering and have worked on a ton of awesome and interesting projects. I have worked on Department of Defense projects that have applications that aid our war-fighters in the field, collaborations with Boeing to increase fuel economy, forensic chemistry, and I have designed and created many amazing smart materials formulations for a variety of applications. Working in a STEM career has taught me that I can learn ANYTHING. It has taught me that when you have an insatiable curiosity, access to the internet and other resources, and the ambition to tackle a difficult problem, there isn’t anything that you can’t teach yourself.
Although I love Science and Engineering, it’s hard to pursue a career in this field while being a military spouse. It’s hard to find new jobs in this career field every 3 years, therefore I have decided to utilize my creative and adaptable personality to pursue career choices that are both more aligned with my passions and provide a more flexible avenue to pursue a career that offers continual growth.
When you wake up every day and dread the idea of going to work, you start to question why you feel that way. Why do you hate the idea of going to work everyday? What would you rather be doing right now? What would make you happy? What changes do you need to make to get there? Many are afraid to ask themselves these questions. They are afraid of pivoting from familiarity. They believe they have invested so much into the path they are currently on, so it would be crazy to redirect now. Well, I believe all past efforts are already sunk costs and they shouldn’t inhibit an individual from chasing after their dreams. Those past efforts are not in vain, as they have provided a depth of knowledge that can transcend boundaries of disciplines. I have over 10 years of professional research experience. I know how to investigate complex systems objectively, interpret data, optimize processes to be more efficient, and apply creative problem-solving. These skills are valuable in almost any career field.
I have learned a lot about myself and my ability to tackle complex problems. So why can’t I apply these skills toward something else that makes me happy? I can’t think of a single reason why this would be impossible. It’s not. People fool themselves into thinking that they are trapped inside a box that everyone else tries to package them into. Sometimes I wonder if people remain stuck in their unhappy realities due to fear or if it’s because they are comfortable and they can’t or won’t make themselves uncomfortable in efforts to make a long-term positive change. I am no such fool and although the decision to change paths is a scary and risky one, I feel that it is worth the risk. Actually, to me, there is no other choice.
My Career as a Designer
To my parent’s dismay, I was the kid that was always looking to create a new artistic masterpiece on every surface I could get my hands on. I am very artistically and visually inclined. I am also very creative, which is a great mindset to have in any career. It definitely helped me in my scientific career.
Art and technology bridge the two worlds that have been tugging at my heartstrings for my entire life. Finding a career that utilizes both my artistic/creative side with my logical/technical side is what I picture as the best of both worlds. I love optimizing processes, creating beautiful design in both the aesthetics and the workability of a product, and design with a particular application in mind. I believe that a career in design marries all of my interests. I really enjoy product design, visual design of user interfaces (UI), and user experience (UX). I was able to transition into a UI/UX designer in the tech industry. I believe that my logical mind-set, creative artistic passion, and attention to detail fits perfect in this world and allows me to exceed expectations as a designer.
I have dedicated a ton of time and have worked tirelessly to teach myself the necessary skills to be successful as a UX designer. My transition started when I received a Grow with Google scholarship. The scholarship propelled me into a submersive learning experience about front-end web development and design.
I was also given an amazing opportunity to be a UX Designer with an U.S. Air Force program called Kessel Run. Kessel Run develops military apps for the war-fighters at lightning speed (~6 months). I have learned a ton about UX Design through this experience. I was a designer for their Tanker Planning Tool and Master Air Attack Planning tool, which supports Air Force Air Operations Command. I later worked on MilitaryOneSource for another company, which is a platform that supports military members and their families. I now work as a Sr. UX Designer at Rocket Communications. Rocket Communications is a Silicon Valley-based design firm that supports both government and commercial clients. A lot of our projects that support the government focus on space command and their partners.
I am an adaptable woman that can learn anything. My experience has taught me this first-hand. I am an individual that has maneuvered through many obstacles to accomplish the difficult. I am a tenacious woman that has an insatiable curiosity, and possesses a work ethic that will not allow them to fail.
I am a professional researcher. I have done research for over 10 years. My research background has served me in my UX design career because the fundamentals are the same. I have just decided to apply my research experience to UX design instead of science and engineering. Research is paramount when it comes to user-centered design. My research background, innate creative nature, and insatiable curiosity makes me the a UX Designer that will excel beyond expectations.
Goals for My Blog
My dream is to wake up everyday and do the things I love. I want a sense of purpose that leaves me feeling fulfilled. If by some miracle, this blog affords me and my husband the ability to rely on it for our income, we want to devote our time to philanthropy and humanitarian efforts. Nothing would bring me greater joy than to pour out my blessings onto other people, especially those that are in need of some extra love. My husband and I believe that our calling in life is to help people and be demonstration of God’s love. God has given us hearts that are compassionate of others and their struggles and we believe that God blesses people in need with the helping hands of His believers. We want to be those hands. It is our goal to start a foundation someday that will be a platform for our giving nature and its purpose will be to bless those that need compassion when life has dealt them a difficult hand.
Some people feel that wanting tons of money is greedy, but I feel that it depends on what you plan to do with that money. There’s nothing greedy about wanting more just to be able to give more. I want success to be able to make a positive impact on the world and fulfill my dream of being a philanthropist.
I hope that those around me that believe in my cause will lift me up, be a part of my journey, and support our cause. We all know how difficult life can be sometimes, but we also know that it’s nice to know that you don’t have to shoulder those burdens alone. No struggle seems unmanageable when you have a support system that has your back, shields you from harm, and lifts you up when you struggle to stand on your own.
I hope all of this information provides some insight into who I am and why I have created hannahcoley.com. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me and that you want to continue this journey with me. I really appreciate you for taking the time to read a part of my story. I look forward to sharing more of this story with my readers in the future. Please take the time to take a look at my blog! Thank you for all of your support!
A Life She Loves