Get to know Me

My name is John Welch, and if there is one thing you should know about me, it's that I am a constant learner.

I did my undergrad at Stanford University in Product Design, and minored in Computer Science and Theater (2018). I then went to Northwestern University where I earned my masters in Engineering Design Innovation (2020).

Now I work at Mighty Networks, an online course and community building platform.

In the same vein as loving to learn, I'm a bit of a hobby collector. I am always looking to pick up new skills and learn from people who are passionate about what they do. Here are some of the skills I've picked up along the way, as well as things I am learning now!
While I lived in Chicago I took classes at Second City and competed in Improv competitions! My friends and I even won a 4-show run on one of their stages that was supposed to start April 2020. Unfortunately, we couldn't perform due to COVID 19, but it was still so much fun to go on stage and just perform with friends.
I have always loved illustration and drawing. As a kid I would take comic books and trace over them to learn how to draw my favorite characters. Now I continue to draw for fun, and you can see several of them sprinkled throughout my portfolio!
Bringing motion to drawing takes it to a whole other level! I love experimenting with ways to animate and bring characters to life.
Telling stories is as at the core of what makes me happy. I am always working on one script or another, whether comedies or thrillers, movies or tv shows.
My family is obsessed with waffles. We throw waffle parties regularly where we make a huge batch of waffle mix, set out a few waffle irons and invite people over to build their own waffles. So, when I took a class that would give me access to a forge, I knew exactly what I had to make!
I've always loved using laser cutters because they allow me to create so much more intricate detail than I could ever achieve building products by hand alone. There are so many cool features you can create like live hinges and joints that fit together perfectly.
I love taking something magical and bringing it to life. Creating wonder and bringing people excitement brings me so much joy. So, I've built a few enchanting things including a Thor costume and a fully functional Sorting Hat that asks you questions, and tracks your nods and shakes to sort you into the right Hogwarts House.
I've started sewing by hand, and made my first original jacket for a halloween costume in 2021. I actually sold the costume at the end of the weekend, and am now trying to learn how to use my grandmother's old sewing machine.
In my industrial design class, I started looking into designing shoes and clothing/wearables. As I develop my sewing skills I want to see how much farther I can take these designs.
Whether it's making a studio apartment flexible enough to host a 30 person thanksgiving dinner, or helping friends and family rearrange their spaces to be balanced and functional, making spaces work for people is so much fun. I actively search out friends who just moved and want help planning out their space.

I also worked on a project redesigning the interior check in flows for Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago that is currently being implemented.
During COVID 19, my brother and I began cutting each other's hair, and I gotta say, people couldn't tell it wasn't a professional hair cut (definitely took 1 or 2 botched haircuts to get there).
Before the pandemic, I had never been good at cooking, but during the last 2 years I've been trying out different recipe books making everything from tom kha gui soup to butternut squash risotto, and hand rolled sushi to home made french fries.

Next up are cooking classes so that I can learn how to improvise.
For a very few weeks I got very into making deserts out of chocolate and wanted to see what I could do! After a few chocolate covered explosions, I ended up making chocolate bowls for my friends to enjoy while watching the season finale of the bachelor.
In college, I did a project where I researched bartending and tried to understand the industry. In the process I learned to do bottle tricks, served at several parties, and started doing some specialty drink making.

The most impressive drink to date is the cake batter martini which has about 2 shots of vodka and over 500 calories of sugary goodness packed into a single measuring cup.
As a huge nerd and lover of improv, board games, and story telling, Dungeons and Dragons was the next logical step. I run a D&D campaign with some friends every other week and have done one off games for friends and coworkers who are curious about how it works.
While in Chicago a friend and I joined a Ninja Warrior Training Gym. While I still fall constantly, it's a million times more fun than weight lifting.
I started scuba diving at 10 years old and haven't stopped since. I am now a Dive Master and have actually been a teaching assistant in dive classes.
In the theme of adventure based exercise, a boxing gym near my Chicago apartment gave out a free class every 3 months that my friends and I attended regularly.
I love going fast and speeding down runs. Put me on a slope and point me downhill and I'll meet you at the bottom.
When I own a home someday, one of the rooms is going to look like the end of Jumanji. I have been growing several plants and even launched a kickstarter in 2017 around an at home automatic watering device.
I've always loved making things that aren't static. When I make art or build fun projects I always want to give it that extra bit of magic by making it move.
Sometimes the simplest arts and crafts can be the best thing to bring people together. I used to volunteer at Stanford Children's Hospital and would go room to room doing art with the kids from basics like drawing to activities like tear art or clay sculpting. Easy small crafts can be just as powerful as a larger complicated piece of art.
Whether it's teaching Human Centered Design to grad students or Story Structure to 3rd graders, teaching has always been something I'm passionate about. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a concept click. The best way to learn is to teach!

Creating The Future

As a kid, I was always looking for ways to bring the future to the present, whether it was making a guitar in fourth grade that used beams of light instead of strings or converting our leaf blower into a hovercraft. Making and creating things was fun! Also, I enjoyed writing stories, imagining my friends and I going ghost hunting or flying to space; always with the goal of making them smile. Growing up, I struggled to merge my creative artistic side with my passion for technology. That is, until I found design. Human centered design has proven to be an incredible fit, balancing this desire to bring creativity into my work, while also doing my best to shape the future.