My name is Neal Adolph Akatsuka. Born and raised on the tiny - beautiful, but [B]TINY[/B] - island of O’ahu, I always wanted to see and learn about the big world beyond the shores of Hawai’i. I thus earned my BA (University of Hawai’i at Manoa, 2010) and MA (Harvard University, 2013) in Anthropology. As part of my research, I traveled to (and lived in) Japan, Australia, and across the US. I have worked on funded ethnographic projects ranging from consumer perceptions of genetically modified crops to a local folk legend about the death of Jesus Christ in Japan (yes, [I]Japan[/I]). The results of my research were communicated in 2 invited international lectures, 8 national conference presentations, and 3 publications. In 2010, my writing was awarded the (National) William Whit Paper Prize by the Association for the Study of Food and Society.
In my current role as Coordinator of Publications and Programs at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, I manage the digital presence of the Center (as well as their 35 seminars and 2 fellowship programs). As I learned more about web development and design, I fell in love with the concept of “human-centered design.” I am certainly biased due to my fascination with human culture and behavior, but I fully embrace the view that human needs and values should drive technology. Technology and design should always empower rather than restrict or hinder human experience.
I now aspire to apply my skills toward a career in user experience (UX) research and design. To do so, I am reading broadly about human-centered design and graphic design, taking David Travis’ “User Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Usability” at Udemy, and pursuing a graduate certificate in web technologies at Harvard Extension School.
I am ever grateful for the UX Mastery community forums - so many great questions and generous insights! I look forward to future conversations with everyone, and would love to connect with you either via Twitter (@NAAkatsuka) or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/akatsuka).