Greetings from Atlanta–home of OutKast, Buford Calloway, and Stranger Things filming locations! When not attending Scarlett O’Hara-worthy debutante balls (just kidding), you can probably find me enjoying a walk on the beltline or drinking an IPA (preferably a Tropicalia) with friends at one of our fabulous breweries.
Many thanks to James and the whole RedMonk team for their warm welcome; couldn’t be more excited to be here.
— Alfresco Diner (@monkchips) January 4, 2022
A Long and Winding Road
I lived many lives before arriving at RedMonk. In my twenties, while attending the BFA program at the University of Cincinnati, I painted murals. This experience immersed me in the world of public art, and I became enamored with ideas of access and democratizing the humanities. Art should be available for everyone, and not just the elite. I then shifted careers and entered academia, studying and teaching writing, communication, and literature–but always with an eye towards visual culture. In 2009 I moved to Pittsburgh to attend the PhD program at Carnegie Mellon University, and it was there that I became interested in the potential afforded by marrying technology to art and literature.
In 2013 I co-founded with Joe Essey the digital archive visualhaggard.org, a peer reviewed literary and art historical app which contextualizes and improves access to illustrations created to accompany the novels of H. Rider Haggard. Although little read today, this 19th C author pioneered the archeologist-adventurer archetype popularized in the late-20th C by Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Nearly all of Haggard’s fictions (notably She and King Solomon’s Mines) were illustrated, and Visual Haggard revalues these artworks by making them freely accessible online. This site became not only invaluable to my teaching and research (here, here, as well as inspiring my forthcoming book, Illustration in Fin-de-Siècle Transatlantic Romance Fiction), it also pushed me to learn how to program. Visual Haggard, a project built with Ruby on Rails, introduced me to app development, website design, and managing digital projects.
Although I continued to teach after graduating in 2016, notably as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech where, among other writing and communication courses, I served as technical communication instructor for CS undergrads, I became more and more invested in the tech industry. As a self-taught programmer, in 2018 I jumped at the opportunity to intern and later work as a frontend engineer at a digital marketing agency. This experience permitted me to see the practices and technologies I studied in my more limited and academic experience play out in industry.
Today, I have experience contributing to and deploying numerous websites (personal and professional) using frontend technologies including JS, JQuery, React, and several JS libraries. I drew upon my art background to translate the designers’ static XD and PSD files into responsive web pages. In my capacity as production engineer, I worked on a variety of CMS platforms including Shopify, Salesforce CMS, WordPress, and Drupal, as well as hosting services including AWS, Heroku, DigitalOcean and EngineYard. I was also responsible for maintaining automated tests for several sites with complex forms using GhostInspector. Most recently I shifted to specializing in QA and accessibility owing to the increasing client demand for WCAG A, AA, and AAA compliant apps.
I am thrilled to bring my varied experience to the RedMonk family in the capacity of industry analyst. This position promises to engage my curiosity and research chops on a subject which has occupied more and more of my imagination.
We’re all Mad Here
It’s always a whirlwind starting a new job, but this is particularly true in my case as I am starting a new career during a pandemic and directly after maternity leave. Like so many parents, the challenge of balancing home and work life is very real and very daunting. However, as my fellow RedMonk analyst and erstwhile colleague at Georgia Tech KellyAnn noted in her own introductory blog post, “Yes, RedMonk is a developer-focused analyst firm, but it also values people more broadly.” I am grateful to be here and healthy, and look forward to discovering what the future holds.