Megan Leigh Willy
I am a design strategist, systems thinker, and group facilitator. I use design to interconnect individuals, professional teams, communities, and governmental organizations by leveraging the opportunities that emerge from creative and participatory practice.
Growing up in a military family and moving every 2 years as a child, I have an inherent ability to adapt quickly to new situations and thrive in ambiguous environments. I also was raised with great respect for and understanding of the US Government and its structure. My exposure to different cultures and having developed a keen creative sensibility, I was inspired to study Anthropology and Animation in university.
I began my career as an Earth science animator for NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio in Goddard, Maryland and worked there for 3.5 years, inspired and challenged by collaborating with the scientists to to translate and visualize the complex concepts with easily digestible 3D and 2D computer animation and graphics.
Meanwhile, I pursued interests in experimental filmmaking and public performance art as a stilt walker. My passion for communication and inclusivity comes from 7 years' experience as a teacher, both in Design and English communication in Concepción, Chile. I held a leadership position as the Regional Coordinator of English Programs: hiring, coordinating, and leading a group of 20 teachers for 4 years. I honed many soft skills including navigating cultural nuances, balancing personalities and hierarchies in the classroom, and improvising when unexpected challenges arise.
As a graduate student, I have developed projects for actual clients with women in coffee-growing Colombia, engaging in speculative future forecasting and self-representation, as well as artisan weavers in Guatemala, designing a system that allows for more cultural agency and autonomy. I am fostering relationships with the communities by taking a bottom-up, participatory action approach to research and design. Handling different real-world contexts and client relationships has kept me accountable throughout my design process. I have also been exploring and designing around issues of aging and the end of life and exploring the senses and leveraging the non-conscious for closer social connectedness.
I am fluent in both Spanish, English, and a variety of creative software; possess key skills in group facilitation and leadership; and believe deeply in a holistic, inclusive, and systems approach to strategic design.