Ayaka Okawa

Research Associate

In addition to being the team’s go-to person for questions about user experience, Ayaka uses her analytical skills to support the Research Team with a variety of work, including conducting literature reviews, developing data collection instruments, and collecting and analyzing data. She also has a knack for qualitative research and coming up with creative recommendations.

At AnLar, Ayaka currently supports the evaluation of Project AWARE, which promotes mental health services in North Carolina schools; Mentor-Connect, which provides guidance and mentorship to community colleges pursuing NSF grants; and the Federation for Children with Special Needs, which supports families with children with special needs in Massachusetts. Prior to joining AnLar, she was an administrator at a variety of independent schools for over five years and led the effort to diversify the schools’ student bodies through admission practices. Most recently, she conducted user experience research as a research fellow at an ed-tech start-up in Silicon Valley, advocating for design solutions that meet teachers’ needs. Ayaka holds an M.A. in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a B.A. from Bowdoin College in Psychology.

Ayaka is a fantasy and science fiction enthusiast and is always “stuck” on a series of epic fantasy novels in audiobook form. While not a dedicated hobbyist, she will say yes to yoga, board games, food adventures, rom-coms, and sailing. An enthusiastic yes is for dog-sitting.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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