Chloe L’EcuyerChloe L’Ecuyer

By M. Riley Luhrsen
English major and Communication & Marketing student intern

Taking the “home” out of homeschooled, CSUCI alumna Chloe L’Ecuyer (’19 Anthropology) traveled the world before attending college and landing a career as a web user-experience designer.

As a child, L’Ecuyer’s family became dissatisfied with the slow pace of public school and decided to take education into their own hands.

“I was reading chapter books by the time I was in kindergarten, and when the school told my mom I wasn’t allowed to read until I could tie my shoelaces, she knew she had to approach schooling in a different way,” L’Ecuyer explained.

Along with giving her education a personalized pace, homeschooling also gave her family the ability to move and travel as they pleased. From traversing the United States to traveling through France, L’Ecuyer was able to see it all.

“It was a really incredible experience and a great way to bond with my mom over crepes under the Eiffel Tower,” L’Ecuyer said.

Homeschooling allowed her to begin taking college classes part time at the age of 15. This gave her a head start in finding her passion for anthropology and design which she would later pursue at CSUCI.

L’Ecuyer chose the University partly because of its smaller, more intimate Anthropology program which enabled her to gain experiences as a lab assistant, vice president of the anthropology club, and travel to Europe and Central America on archeological digs.

“Both of these digs were so different (Belize was ancient ruins; Italy was a medieval gravesite) and I got to experience different parts of the world and cultures that I hadn’t really thought of before,” she noted.

But experiencing archeology firsthand helped her realize the vocation wasn’t really for her.

“If I had never traveled to the digs, I would have never known that I don’t actually enjoy archaeology as much as I thought I would,” she said.

She decided to switch focus during her senior year.

“This meant I had to change my capstone halfway through the year, from studying celiac diseases in bones through the archaeological record to researching women in technology,” she explained.

A Geographical Information System (GIS) course and a class trip to Santa Rosa Island helped launch her on a new path in design.

“The GIS class took a trip to Santa Rosa Island. I was so nervous, but I learned a lot about collaboration and making things work on the fly,” she recalled. “We were tasked with mapping out the various trails on Santa Rosa and taking photos and different data points to look at vegetation growth over time. The beginning of the hike was going great, until we hit a rainstorm, then our GPS died, our papers (and us) were soaking wet, yet we continued to move on through the data points and take the pictures as best we could. It was a great experience of learning to work as a team and make do when things didn't go exactly as planned.”

Through the course, L’Ecuyer learned visual hierarchies and design, which she was then able to use for presentations and eventually transfer into design knowledge.

After graduating in 2019, she set out to find a career in cultural anthropology. She spent 20 to 30 hours a week submitting applications until she found a job as a UX Architect creating user experiences for websites with ESRI, an international company that designs and sells mapping and data management software. The same company, ironically, that designed the software she used during her trip to Santa Rosa Island.

“For any given project, my role includes conducting qualitative and quantitative research, strategizing, and designing out experiences for our users,” L’Ecuyer explained. “It is interesting to be the youngest on my team and in the office, and sometimes I feel like I have to work twice as hard to prove myself in a world full of seasoned designers.”

L’Ecuyer has advice for homeschooled kids looking to attend college.

“Never let people bring you down for being homeschooled. The transition is scary for anyone moving from high school to college— it is no different for you than it is for anyone else.”

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