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About Cheryl

I’m a Senior User Experience Designer based in the Seattle area. I’ve always been passionate about both technology and the arts, and in UX Design I have happily found a way to apply both on a daily basis. As of August 2016, I’ve returned to Microsoft to join the Azure Design team.

From 2014-2016, I was employed by Amazon on a number of unannounced projects that will release in the coming months. From 2007 – 2014, I worked for Microsoft on a number of products, including the Connected Car project, System Center Configuration Manager 2012, Windows Intune, and the Windows Phone Cortana design team.

Prior to joining Microsoft, I spent four years in the video game industry and have shipped over half a dozen games on multiple platforms. I’ve also worked in the theme park industry: for both Sesame Place (as an entertainer) and Walt Disney World (as an interface designer). I’m an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and I also spent a year in their Entertainment Technology Center.

In the fall of 2002, I was a teaching assistant for Professor Randy Pausch’s “Building Virtual Worlds” class at Carnegie Mellon. Randy was also my mentor, grad school advisor, and the reason I ever found out about HCI as a career in the first place. To read more about my CMU story, check out “Happily Ever After” [cmu.edu – Carnegie Mellon homepage]

When I’m not designing, you’ll most likely find me onstage. I am a professional musical theatre and improvisational actress, and have worked with numerous Seattle-area theatre companies. I’m a 6-year veteran ensemble member and improv instructor with Unexpected Productions, home of Seattle TheaterSports in the historic Pike Place Market. In 2009, I co-wrote and co-starred in an original MSN Movies web series, “I’d See it If…” (over 500,000 views!)

These days, I have ventured into the world of Twitch live broadcasting. Since March 2016, I’ve co-starred as “Ma1nfram3” in the weekly Twitch TV series Shadowrun: Corporate SINs on premium Twitch channel Hyper RPG. I also stream occasionally at my own channel, MuppetAphrodite.

STEM Outreach & Teaching

STEM outreach is a particular passion of mine, and over the past decade I’ve pursued a number of different vectors for getting the word out.

  • I created a 90-minute workshop entitled “Making the World Easier With Interaction Design”, which I’ve taught in various forms to hundreds of Seattle-area students from grades 6 through 12. The workshop was presented multiple years in a row at Microsoft’s DigiGirlz program in Redmond, as well as Amazon’s Girls who Code program and the University of Washington’s Dawgbytes program. Download the slides on SlideShare here.
  • For two years, I served on the executive board of Seattle-area nonprofit IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution), a group devoted to exposing young women to the potential careers available to them in science and technology. I served as Vice-President and assisted with branding and outreach. Though no longer on the Board, I do continue to participate in IGNITE’s career panels as time allows.
  • I am always interested in opportunities to speak to girls (or students of all persuasions) regarding STEM in general or Interaction Design specifically. In 2013 I spoke at GeekGirlCon, gave the keynote at the spring Girls Unlimited conference in Redmond, and gave a followup talk at the Girls Unlimited fall session. In addition, I have participated in multiple career panels for the TEALS program.
  • In 2013 I was a featured mentor with the Huffington Post’s Girls in STEM project, and remain a blogger for that effort.

To view more information about me, including my professional resume, acting resume, and portfolio, visit my personal website at http://cherylplatz.com/

Video Interview about working on the Alexa Voice Design Team:

Ma1nfram3 from Shadowrun: Corporate SINs

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