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Dr. Darwin is an innovative and insightful researcher with thirteen years of experience in human-centered research projects. She is currently employed as a Senior UX Researcher at JP Morgan Chase, where she drives product design in a cross-functional quad team. Previous to joining JP Morgan, she worked as a UX Researcher at AnswerLab, where she led over twenty end to end research projects in a client-facing agile environment.

Helana is experienced in leading all phases of research. Her methods have included IDIs, focus groups, usability testing, card sorting, and competitive market analysis. Her deliverables have included written reports, slide deck reports, and personas. Her areas have included social media, information architecture, privacy policies, e-commerce, fintech, educational technology, and messaging apps. Prospective employers can request access to her research portfolio by emailing

Helana is an oft-cited scholar of culture and social inequality. Her past research subject areas included craft beer culture, religious culture, the Body Positive Movement, and the gender binary system. She has utilized a range of digital methods including virtual ethnography, blog discourse analysis, and online comment sentiment analysis, in addition to traditional methods such as in-depth interviews and survey research.

Her most recent book is available for purchase here. Redoing Gender: How Nonbinary Gender Contributes toward Social Change illuminates the everyday labor that gender nonbinary people perform in order to achieve social recognition. In keeping with the famous “doing gender” sociological model, Helana analyzes these process at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional levels, through in-depth interviews with 47 nonbinary people.

Helana recently completed her second book, intended for a general reading audience, tentatively titled #MeTooPhD: A Trauma Memoir. She is currently searching for a literary agent and a press for this book, which highlights the intricate layers of interpersonal and institutional abuse that push victims of professor-student sexual abuse out of the academy. A summary of the main points has been published at the PhD Voice blog, in an article entitled “The Hidden Curriculum: Insights from a #MeTooPhD Survivor.” Helana is available for guest lecturing engagements about sexual abuse in the academy. Please direct all email inquiries to

In her spare time, Helana is beginning to draft her third book, tentatively titled The Legacy. This book focuses on the themes of intergenerational trauma and mental health, explored through a focus on Helana’s mother’s life history.