When I was nineteen years old, I was running an after-school program at a subsidized housing complex near my college in Kentucky. One day, an angry fourth-grader named Antonio told me one of the most important things I've ever heard:
"You don't know me!"
Actually, he screamed it. But he was right. And that sentence has shaped the rest of my life.
My name is Hillary LP Eason, and I do human-centered program and project design. What that means is that, to follow the above critique, my job is to learn about people - to understand the environmental and economic and emotional factors that influence human behavior, and to use that information to create opportunities for empowerment. It means making Antonio proud.
Over the years, I've focused on education, healthcare, and citizen engagement. After that after-school program, I moved to Korea, where in 2008 my friend Nikki and I worked with the US Embassy to create a youth civics initiative called the Middle School Youth Diplomacy Program (MSYDP). (It's still going strong.) Since then, I've been lucky enough to work in both the public and private sectors on projects as diverse as vaccine access in Mongolia, online engagement platforms for MENA democracy activists, and an after-school program in northeast DC. I've also worked as a teacher, a journalist, and a Toyologist - jobs that have all, in one way or another, taught me about the importance of empathy.
Other things I like include writing, eating, and thinking about systems. My favorite illustrator is Ezra Jack Keats, my favorite breakfast is char siu bao, and my favorite places in DC (where I live) are the Museum of Unnatural History, the neighborhood of Petworth, and the Lincoln Memorial at night.