Photo of Melanie Polkosky

About me

Psychologist, UX designer-researcher-writer & coach.

I’m a social-cognitive psychologist, strategist, consultant, researcher, writer and certified coach. I earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences from the University of South Florida, with specialty in interpersonal communication, social cognition and applied behavioral research. I also hold a Bachelor of Science in Education (English major) and Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

After early stints as an educator and clinical speech-language pathologist, I’ve spent most of my career in the User Experience (UX) field, designing speech technology and complex artificial intelligence systems. During my 13 years at IBM, I was certified as a Thought Leader Consultant and provided user experience advocacy, design, education and consulting for many worldwide Fortune 500 clients. I also completed both of IBM’s prestigious global leadership and social responsibility programs, the Corporate Service Corps, in United Arab Emirates, and Executive Service Corps (Smarter Cities Challenge), in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

I’ve taught a variety of UX courses, including Human Factors Psychology (USF), several in HFI’s Usability Analyst certification program, and one I developed, Conversational UX Bootcamp. I’ve also created and taught a variety of Design Thinking-style workshops for clients.

Uncovering Truffles by Melanie Polkosky

Did you know?

Been there, wrote a book on being a woman in STEM

Check it out

My UX management roles, in addition to many UX team lead roles, have included Director of Research for a UX specialty consulting agency and SVP of Customer Experience for a technology startup. In 2020, I joined the Board of Directors of the UX Design Institute in Dublin.

The career highlights I’m most proud of include a Provost’s Commendation for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student (University of South Florida), publication of over 60 articles, 6 United States patents and founding board member of the Association for Voice Interaction Design (AVIxD). In 2015, I wrote Uncovering Truffles: The Scarcity and Value of Women in STEM about the experiences of and need for women in male-dominated fields.

Also in 2015, I completed my first professional coaching certification, followed by Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential from the International Coaching Federation. My coaching practice serves creatives, UXers and high-achieving professional women in finding greater satisfaction with their careers and lives. Since 2019, I’ve been the Professional Development and Events Chair and board member of the ICF Gulf Coast chapter, where my remote learning program has more than quadrupled our revenue and made us a leader in virtual professional development.

All that, and I’ve been a breast cancer survivor since 2010, which utterly upended everything that came before and has made my after a continuous quest for growth, happiness and gratitude.

Here’s the most important part of the life I’ve designed: I’m a wife of one of my best friends from high school (still going strong after 30 years together), a mom of two empathetic and curious teens, and the dog mom of one very friendly Labradoodle. If I’m not working, coaching or mothering, you’ll find me reading, traveling, furrowing my brow with my latest writing project or watching the sunset at our lakehouse as all the sparrows, chickadee, finches and tufted titmice frolic at my bird feeders.