The next adventure

Dear kindred spirits

I’m writing today to throw my hat in the ring. Which ring, you ask? And which hat, I wonder? That’s the problem. There are many rings, I have many hats. Perhaps we should get to know each other a little first.

My name is Keri Moyle, but I wonder what it would take for you to get to know me?  For any other application for any other job, I’d start by sledge-hammering you with academic qualifications, awards, and an impressive-sounding resume, but perhaps that’s not what you’re after.  No, in looking for the next adventure I will need to tell you about suitably adventurous, out-of-the-ordinary qualifications (you can see I already have an appropriate hat).  Here goes.

I play, I teach

I use intuition, analogy, visualisations, experiments, and stories to teach engineering.  My “Hall of Fame” of examples and analogies that we used in class now serves as the toy-box at home for visitors with children. I’ve even written a dissertation about the links between visualisation, intuition, and expert learning.

  Among many other things, we’ve used a flute, dust, and a loud-speaker to explore the workings of a patented device for continuous flow separation of lipids from suctioned blood during surgery.  We’ve played “battleship” in class (to explore computational minimisation algorithms); had virtual orienteering races (to explore adaptive step-sizing routines); and discussed why, if mountain climbing while blindfolded, it’s a good idea to take small steps and many friends (to explore higher-order numerical integration methods).  We’ve dissected apples, bananas and onions (to explore appropriate coordinate systems for bio-mechanical constitutive relationships in tissue) and played with hair gel, tomato sauce, and oil (for non-Newtonian viscosity).  We’ve made snowballs in an Oxford quad (to look at the crystalline atomic structures of metals) and designed skim-boards for members of staff (for dynamic lubrication theory). 

We’ve had a lot of fun.

I’ve enjoyed several years as Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) for the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering. I taught, learned from, and led the teachers as well as students. This experience is documented in my 2017 Leadership in Teaching and Learning portfolio.

I learn, I lead

I write

… to learn

My personal writing tends to use concepts familiar to me (science, engineering) as analogues for those more foreign (politics, sociology).  I write to learn, to understand, to clarify, to challenge myself and others, and (just maybe) to justify time spent wondering, reading, and thinking about the bright and the beautiful, the wonderful and the weird.

I’ve used digital illustration tools to create Who Could Live There? An interactive pop-up book aimed at ages 4 and up, it discusses the effects of pesticides on ecosystem inter-dependence using a series of twelve rotational paper mechanisms.

… to engage

… to excite

Marley and the Mystery of Mies explores the geological origins of the bloc erratique in a small Swiss village in a pick-a-path novel for children.  A second book (in progress) sees the protagonists grapple with a collection of fundamental physical principles: from levers, hydraulics, and pulley systems, to momentum, geometry, and how to calculate pi using their shoelaces.

Myarolan, Printemps 2020, p21

During an award-winning PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Haemodynamics of the Fontan Connection, University of Auckland, 2003), I investigated how the combination of phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging and computational fluid dynamics could be used to construct simulations for the design of surgical connections in children with congenital heart malformations. 

A first-class Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical, UoA, 1999), and a PGDip in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Seeing and Believing: Intuition and visualisation in undergraduate engineering, University of Oxford, 2008) reinforced the importance of interdisciplinary transference and learning.

I’ve been a researcher in biomedical engineering for a decade, and lectured in both Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science (the geeky, mathy, simulation-y, computation-y branch of engineering) for a second decade.

When my partner and I moved to Geneva in 2018 it also meant – sadly – moving away from teaching. I’m now working remotely as a research programmer for the Auckland Bioengineering Institute on its CellML project. I moved back to New Zealand earlier this year, but continue to work remotely.

I geek!

As a life-long Heath Robinson fan, this project has given me a lot of satisfaction: to design and build a mechanical clock from discarded bicycle parts that tells the time, the tides on both of Auckland’s harbours, the moon’s position and phase.

I see possibilities

… and beauty

Rakiura: Seeds in the Sand happened by accident. I photographed it while working for the Department of Conservation taking publicity shots for their walking tracks, but the incidental photos became a book. Set to commissioned music and launched with two orchestral performances by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Rakiura: Seeds in the Sand explores themes of intervention, regeneration, and renewal on Rakiura / Stewart Island.

I make tools

Beyond the programming for purposes of engineering and research, I’ve designed and written software related to teaching and learning. All three are firmly grounded in teaching and learning pedagogy, and take the user actively through the behaviours that we want to encourage: modelling, encouraging, and leading rather than instructing.

Compass is an extensive suite of tools supporting curriculum mapping, navigation, design, and review. The link details its pedagogy and philosophy, as well as how Compass supports teachers and planners towards constructive alignment.

The best time to connect, network, and have conversations about your projects and ideas is before they’re finished, not afterwards. SCOPE (Searchable Communities of Practice and Expertise) makes it easy to disseminate “works in progress”, connecting teachers across disciplines with anyone or anything that could support their development.

Tahi is the product of my 2015 fellowship with the Centre for Learning and Educational Research at the University of Auckland. A student-facing program, Tahi encourages students to develop expert-type learning habits.

I make pictures

I paint portraits. I sketch strangers on trains. I stay connected in lockdown by drawing people over Zoom. I make pop-up stories as gifts for adults and children.

I support

I communicate

I’m at home in broad and open-ended situations, but understand the importance of details (such as noticing typos in job advertisements), of curiosity (like wondering whether they are deliberate), and how the form of communication can affect its efficacy (and try to find ways to precise rather than pedantic).

I’d love to hear from you

I’m looking for a job where this mad hodgepodge of skills might be of some use. I have loved the career (both noun and verb) of two decades of traditional academic teaching and research, but now it’s time for the next adventure. (In a perfect world, that position would also enable me to continue the 80% workload I have at present, which gives me time to work on the children’s books as well. It’s a long shot, I know!). I’m currently based in Auckland, New Zealand.

If you’re interested in knowing more, I’m happy to supply a formal CV or portfolio more targeted in a specific direction.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Go well,