Lesley-Ann is a 2018–2019 Ocean Design Teaching Fellows at the d.school at Stanford University, where she co-teaches a class in which students apply a design lens to address global ocean threats and propose sustainable solutions. She recently completed her PhD in Design at North Carolina State University. Her research focused on design thinking at a rural primary school in Trinidad and Tobago.
Lesley-Ann is a former Fulbright Scholar and also a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. In her professional practice, she draws on the fields of design, anthropology, business and education to create product development and business strategy with stakeholders. Her research practice is guided by an emancipatory philosophy. She focuses on developing design curriculum for non-traditional audiences and promoting the work of designers outside Europe and North America. She has exhibited work at design exhibitions in Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Brazil, Germany, France and the USA. She has presented peer-reviewed papers at design conferences in the Caribbean, the US, the UK and India.
What’s a challenge you’ve faced and how did you get through it?
Over the last few years, my biggest challenge was uprooting my life and moving to North Carolina with my son to pursue a PhD in Design. Work-life balance was hard to manage. Even though I’m well-travelled and have worked in different countries, I had to deal with the culture shock of adapting to a new university culture, a new elementary school culture, a new American work and pop culture. I got through it all by maintaining openness and being flexible. I’ve just uprooted us again by moving to California for a year, and at the end of this year, we’ll be moving again. It’s not as easy as it looks, but I know both me and my son have grown enormously over the last 3–4 years.
What’s something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
I finished my PhD in just over three years. It’s not perfect, and it was hard work, but I’m extremely proud that I was able to complete it in the timeframe I set for myself. Before completing the PhD, I got a job as a teaching fellow at Stanford University. I see that as a really significant accomplishment.