MSU UARC is shutting down effective June 30, 2021. We are no longer taking on new projects.


Jen Atanasovski

Customer and Industry Research Pathfinder, Ford Motor Company

Jennifer Atanasovski's career has been a diverse one, spanning across many different design mediums. With a Fine Arts degree from the College for Creative Studies in hand, she got her start in the automotive industry as a clay modeler at General Motors, and soon after shifted to the world of color and trim design. This change led her to Ford's Color & Materials team, where she had a successful career in design strategy. Changing gears, she moved to UX Communication Design, which led her to her current role as a Customer and Industry Research Pathfinder. Here she combines her creative, philosophical, and psychology skills all into one. This blend of skillsets allows her to see contextual shifts in trends across a variety of subjects – economic to societal to behavioral – and uses them to inform how Ford shapes the future.

Kat Hartman

Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology, City of Detroit

Prior to her work at the City of Detroit, Kat contributed directly to the design of data heavy products and interactions at both bespoke and enterprise scales. In addition to visualizing data, she enjoys thinking in systems and translating complexity into accessible metaphors and stories. Her team's work at the City of Detroit includes managing the open data portal as well as the the ETL library that populates it, and developing user friendly web applications that allow residents to easily access and explore open data. In addition, she is heading up the effort to establish a formal data governance policy and committee to operationalize cross-functional management of critical data assets.

Christopher Patten

Design Researcher, Center for Civic Design

Christopher translates design methodologies for use by government and non-profit stakeholders. Whether he's facilitating co-creation workshops or debating design thinking, he brings a critical approach to his role as a designer working in non-design settings. His work has spanned the fields of policy, education, and transportation. His engagements have included The World Bank, Ford Motor Company Fund, Ford Smart Mobility, the Christopher Park Alliance, and the New York City Parks Department. His most recent role was Director of Strategy for Detroit Public Schools Community District. In 2013, Christopher was selected by the Center for Urban Pedagogy to collaborate on creating a visual guide that explained legal procedures for allowing family members to continue living in rent-stabilized and controlled apartments as neighborhoods in New York City become increasingly costly. Christopher writes regularly about design and has contributed to the publications Human Cities: Creating Public Space and Interior Futures. Christopher began his design career as a landscape architect in Milan, working for the Salone del Mobile design week, where he created roof gardens and temporary installations for both civic and private spaces. There, he was exposed to co-creation methods and service design methodologies, which became the focus for his career.

Carol Smith

Senior Research Scientist - Human-Machine Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

Carol Smith (@carologic) is a Senior Research Scientist in Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute and an adjunct instructor for CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). She has been conducting UX research to improve the human experience across industries for 18 years and working to improve AI systems since 2015. Carol's writing has been published in magazines and books and she has presented over 130 talks and workshops in 40 cities around the world, served two terms on the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) international board, and is currently an Editor for the Journal of Usability Studies. She holds an M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction from DePaul University.

Phil Tularak

UX Manager, Thomson Reuters

Phillip Tularak is a User Experience Manager at Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of news and information-based tools to professionals. In his role he leads a team of User Experience Designers and Researchers focused on delivering the next-generation of "software as a-service"-based tax and accounting tools. He has worked for various companies as a user experience professional, including General Electric (GE) and General Motors (GM), focused on delivering products with a great user experience across mobile, desktop, and in-vehicle systems. Phillip is an alumnus of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan's School of Information, where he received his Masters of Science in Information focusing on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Analysis and Retrieval.