Multifaceted Designer
& Avid Storyteller


I am a curious designer with a unique perspective and relentless drive. I lead in design and in life with a focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. When not creating beautiful things I can be found hiking with my partner and our 2 doggoes.

Read on for the story of how I've gotten to where I am now on the journey of life. Or if you're here strictly for business, download my resume and continue with your day.

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My Story

Table of Contents



the trip of a lifetime

The Road Less Traveled

I have always traveled off of the beaten path. I grew up in a small town in North Dakota where most people don't stray too far away...from home or from the ideals with which they were raised.

Golden, barren North Dakota plains with a big, blue sky and a large shadow of a hill with two humans and a dog on top.

Finding My Own Way

This is the story of how I've made it to where I am today in my career, and in life. Please do enjoy!

how it all began


I started working when I was 13 (before it was legal) in my school's greenhouse. I was getting paid in cash and saving up so I could afford gas when I got my car for my 14th birthday.

Cherry red 1987 Honda Prelude with headlights flipped up

My cherry red 1987 Honda Prelude was a $2,000 sale from an older cousin. In order to retrieve it, I'd need to learn how to drive all 5 manual speeds of it in the steep mountains and deep valleys of Spokane, WA.

learning from mistakes

One time, early in this process, I was stopped at a red light on a hill that should have existed in San Fran, not Spokane.

As I rolled to a stop, my knuckles gripped the wheel, my throat went dry, and sweat dripped from my brow. A truck pulled up within inches of my back bumper, and I hoped neither of us would regret that.

When the light turned green, my stepmom screamed at me, "Give it gaaaaas!" I obeyed diligently and the motor screamed as I rolled backwards. The screaming continued, I tried again and again. The motor wailed, thumped, and died as I killed it for the first time.

This went on until the light turned red again and my bumper rested on the truck behind me. A group of teens pulled up in the car next to me and laughed.

I gathered my thoughts, tuned everything out, and thought through the steps. Clutch, gas, slowly lift clu....ooooh, I had given it plenty of gas, but in my panic, forgot the all-important step of putting it in gear.

Learning to drive a stick-shift, as with learning anything new, takes patience, forgiveness, and perseverance. I'm glad I learned this lesson young as I've applied it countless times throughout my journey.




rising action

to be con-tinued...


I'm a UX/UI Designer based in San Diego.

I have a 10 year career in roller derby.

Task Flow

Alex has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and wants to see if his anger is a symptom. If so, he'd like to learn coping mechanisms.


AJ Patshkowski

In 2017, I made a conscious decision to begin the long journey of a mid-career shift. I was introduced to UX when my company at the time created a department, and after a long and successful career in sales, I decided to explore my creative side and make moves to bring more creativity into my work.

Fast forward to 2022 and I am a successful writing & design freelancer, and about to graduate with a Master's Degree in Interaction & UX/UI Design. I have also nearly achieved a life-long student goal to graduate with honors as I currently carry a 3.711 (Magna Cum Laude) with only one semester left to go.

It's safe to say, when I put my mind to something, I make it happen (let me take a moment to acknowledge my privilege here and thank my supportive network). This journey started with and continues to include hours upon hours of self-teaching and continual research and skill building. I find this empowering and exciting, and understand that my curiosity and drive is a strength within the UX/UI discipline.


ma, Interaction & ui/ux design

Academy of Art University
San Francisco, CA (Remote)
2020 - 2022

Ba, criminal justice with emphasis in psychology

Minnesota State University, Moorhead
Moorhead, MN
2006 - 2009

design intern

Young & Hungry Creative Agency - San Francisco, CA (Remote)
August 2021 - December 2021

As an intern with Young & Hungry, I collaborated with art directors and multiple teams to develop creative brand assets and strategies that exceeded our client’s expectations. I stretched my creative skillset to include VR Design, Illustration, Motion Design, Game Design, Creative Strategizing, and Project Management.

design freelancer

Patshwork Creative - San Diego
April 2018 - Present

As a small business owner, I have learned an endless amount of skills around design, organization, communication, and responsibility. I produce excellent design work for my clients which, in turn,produces excellent results for them and their customers. My focus is in graphic, motion, and UX/UIdesign as well as research and writing.

sales & marketing communications manager

WorkOutLoud - Minneapolis, MN
October 2017 - March 2018 (Contract)

As a contractor with a small, 5-person startup, I got my start in creative work. We completed a startup accelerator program where we refined the business model and strategized future growth. I did market research and competitive analyses and developed and implemented sales and marketing strategies. I designed all creative assets including graphics, illustrations, and ads, as well as wrote the company blog and assisted with social media management.


Let's Work Together