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I’m Lauren, a front-end developer and erstwhile anthropologist living in Blacksburg, Virginia with Dosi and Coconut. I have nearly a decade of experience designing and building websites for diverse-scale educational organizations and helping craft bespoke digital marketing strategies. I currently work for Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture.

About me

I was born into a military family on a MEDDAC installation in Bremerhaven, Germany. After moving around every few years we landed in Anchorage, Alaska when I was 14, and that's where I've called home ever since! 🤍

I graduated with a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and an M.A. in anthropology from George Mason University. I later earned a graduate certificate in Leading Education Systems from Harvard and took classes in American Studies at Karl-Ruprecht-Universität while an au pair in Mannheim.

You may have noticed none of this has anything to do with websites.

As my au pair gig was winding down in Germany I needed a job to come back to, and applied to my first web position with the school district where I used to work in Anchorage. I interviewed over Skype in the playroom of my German family, a glass of Riesling just off camera, trying to camouflage my complete ignorance while they asked me about SEO and my favorite JavaScript libraries. I'm forever grateful to that interview committee for they chance they took on me because I've been building the web ever since and can't imagine doing anything else!

Experience

Web Manager  @ Virginia Tech College of Agriculture

Full-time  |  October 2019 — present

Full list of CALS projects

  • Responsible for the content, design, and development of websites for CALS, the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture, 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, and Virginia Cooperative Extension (with 107 local offices).
  • Developed custom CALS homepage layout and several interactive features, including programs carousel to helps students “find their place”, custom news and calendar feeds, integrated and branded social media feeds, branded map with filters for ARECs, Extension, and 4-H offices, and chatbot.
  • Developed multiple custom sites in response to COVID-19 including digital yearbook (dynamically-generated by student-completed Google Form) and digital viewbook.
  • Migrated Extension intranet from static HTML site to Google Drive/Sites.
  • Currently responsible for revamping the Virginia Cooperative Extension website.

Web Developer  @ Ukrainian Catholic Crisis Media Center

Volunteer  |  February 2022 — present

Github repo

  • Stood up UCCMC website with a two-day turnaround in an emergent situtation.
  • Installed WordPress and theme with several important customizations, including video backgrounds using YouTube and Facebook APIs and Ukrainian-language version of the site using manual translations.
  • Serve as domain administrator and super admin for Google Workspace.

Web Developer  @ The Catholic University of America School of Theology

Contract  |  March 2021 — November 2021

Github repo

  • Revamped the school's homepage with a completely custom layout and unique, interactive features. The university's instance of Cascade CMS prevents users from modifying or adding CSS and most HTML attributes, so we generated all the stylesheets and HTML dynamically.
  • Designed multiple MailChimp templates for campaigns to faculty, students, and stakeholders.
  • Developed custom page for TRS student association updated using a Google Sheet and custom forms page updated using Google Drive.

Web Developer  @ Commonwealth Cyber Initiative

Contract  |  May 2021 — present

  • Assist with managing web updates and crafting custom pages in support of CCI's strategic goals.
  • Developed jQuery plug-in to display latest faculty publications using Google Scholar.

Webmaster / IT Specialist  @ Center for Power Electronics Systems

Full-time  |  May 2016 — January 2019

  • Completed ground-up design, development, and maintenance of the CPES intranet and Annual Conference websites. Developed a content management system for the Conference website utilizing Google Sheets API.
  • Responsible for ongoing development and maintenance of the CPES front-facing website, including a document library of over 30,000 publications with varying access levels, and permissions for nearly 4,000 users.
  • Designed and developed a web-based purchasing application for students to submit and track purchase requests, and for staff to approve and track spending. Featured customizable reports, automated email notifications, and CSV uploads for purchase requests from vendors who offered shopping cart CSV exports.
  • Designed and developed a web-based application to seek and identify new publications by CPES faculty and students, and prompt them to submit the corresponding information and documents for archiving.

Electronic Communications Manager  @ Anchorage School District

Full-time  |  December 2014 — May 2016

  • Responsible for the internal and external online presence of one of the largest school districts in the United States, including the ASD website, intranet, social media, email marketing, and SchoolMessenger notification system.
  • Planned and implemented the multi-phase migration of over 130 school and program websites to a new content management system, including the development of instructional materials, and face-to-face training for over 260 staff.
  • Administered ASD’s web content management system, including planning of the site structure, access permissions, design and implementation of CMS features and templates, testing, and troubleshooting.
  • Served as a member of the public information crisis response team and was on-call for emergency communication needs. Also served as a member of the Internet Policy Committee to provide leadership on district-wide guidelines for internet use.
 

Recent work

  • Virginia Tech

    From Pests to Protein

    Magazine article using Lottie and ScrollMagic to display animated SVGs associated with different sections.

    • HTML, CSS, JS
    • Lottie Web Player
    • ScrollMagic
  • Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia

    Ukrainian Catholic Crisis Media Center website

    Stood up website with a two-day turnaround in an emergent situtation. Created custom fields for adding YouTube and Facebook videos as full-width, autoplaying video backgrounds. Developed a script to translate the website into Ukrainian based on the language of the post.

    • HTML, CSS, JS
    • PHP
    • YouTube Data API
    • Graph API
    • WordPress
  • The Catholic University of America

    TRS Homepage

    Revamped school homepage within the brand identity of the university. The CMS restricted adding or modifying CSS/HTML attributes, so we added stylesheets and HTML dynamically to achieve a custom layout and unique, interactive features.

    • Video editing
    • HTML, CSS, JS
    • Google Maps API
  • Virginia Tech

    CALS homepage

    A revamp of the CALS homepage within Adobe Experience Manager. Included a completely custom layout and unique, interactive features.

    • HTML, CSS, JavaScript
    • Google Maps API
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Coconut: the smart one. 🤓 Dosi: the sweet one. 🤎