Rachel Fleming, PhD

Denver, CO, U.S.A   |


User Experience Researcher and Anthropologist combines a qualitative research background with UX research methods to guide early stage to enterprise companies in the digital product space. 


UX Researcher, Cognizant Accelerator, Boulder, CO, April 2018-present

  • Established user research framework for Accelerator products
  • Close collaboration with design, engineering, product strategy, and product management
  • Discovering best practices for UX research in enterprise products

Lead User Experience Researcher, Spire Digital, Denver, CO, October 2017-March 2018

  • Designed and conducted user experience research including user interviews, contextual inquiry, survey development, and usability testing to make strategic recommendations
  • Directed research teams for large projects, organized data collected by a multi-person team
  • Coached clients in problem definition, strategy, MVP, and feature prioritization for digital products through design thinking and UX methodologies
  • Collaborated with designers, product owners, and developers
  • Wrote epics and user stories catalogue for use in MVP product roadmap
  • Developed best practices for lean UX research consulting
  • Experience with startups and enterprise companies in financial services, aviation, real estate, insurance, legal services, technology, consumer products, and angel investing

User Experience Research Consultant for Technology Startups, Boulder/Denver, CO, Sept.-Oct. 2017

  • Prospective digital healthcare startup for underserved populations: Interviews/shadowing with patients, doctors, health coordinators; qualitative data analysis for actionable recommendations; coaching founder using design thinking methods on problem space and strategy
  • Via TRM, software startup in study abroad space: Interviews/surveys with students; competitive analysis and usability testing with clients using Via and main competitor; usability testing for student facing platform

Designer in Training, Designlab UX Research & Strategy Course, February-March 2017

  • Designed and iterated a digital service product through user interviews, empathy and journey mapping
  • Created storyboards, problem/POV statements, usability tests, and landing page

Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Denver, Aug.-Dec. 2016

  • Taught the history of Anthropology and applied examples in multimedia lectures
  • Created short hands-on ethnographic research projects for “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology”

Adjunct Professor, Humanitarian Engineering Program, Colorado School of Mines, Jan.-May 2016

  • Conveyed the value of ethnographic research to engineering students through case studies
  • Invited six female engineers as guest speakers for “Women and Development”

PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, 2007-2016                      

  • Designed and managed field research project in Bangalore, India on gender in technology
  • Conducted and transcribed over fifty interviews, coded qualitative data, used character-based narratives to argue that global tech industry work is improving gender equality in urban India in limited ways
  • Analyzed qualitative data for patterns and connections, compared gap between expectations and experience for women in tech in Bangalore
  • Presented results at national conferences, taught ethnographic methods seminars       

Consultant, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005-2007

  • Collected and analyzed economic development data for impact of higher education and tourism studies

MA Student, City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003-2005 

  • Analyzed economic databases to calculate economic impact of the arts (BLS, Dun & Bradstreet databases)
  • Conducted qualitative research to evaluate local arts-based economic development strategies
  • Studied urban design and impact of urban spatial formations on social life


Ph.D. Anthropology - University of Colorado Boulder, 2016
Fulbright-Nehru Student Fellowship for dissertation research in India
Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship for Hindi language study                       

M.A. Anthropology - University of Colorado Boulder, 2009

M.A. Urban Planning - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005

B.A. Anthropology - Dartmouth College, Cum Laude, 2000


Research Methods

  • User research: research design, recruiting, contextual inquiry, interviewing, analysis
  • Surveys: top task survey for feature prioritization, qualitative surveys
  • Usability testing, A/B tests, basic data analytics
  • Competitive analysis
  • Workshop facilitation, teaching skills
  • Qualitative data analysis: pattern recognition, key insights, actionable recommendations
  • Presentation of concise recommendations for strategy and product
  • Product owner duties (writing epics, user stories catalogue, product MVP roadmap)


  • Surveys: Google surveys, SurveyMonkey, top task (feature list) surveys, user survey methods
  • CMS & landing page tools: WordPress, Squarespace, Launchrock
  • Qualitative data analysis: ATLAS.ti, NVivo
  • Speech-to-Text Tools: Dragon Dictate, Livescribe, ExpressScribe
  • Statistical analysis: SPSS, Excel (PowerPoint for data visualization), basic Google Analytics

 International Expertise

  • 15 months field experience/qualitative data collection with tech workers in South Asia
  • Basic conversational skills and reading in Hindi, Kannada, Spanish, French, Italian
  • Teaching experience in world cultures and cross-cultural skills

Continuing Education on UX Research Methods (examples)