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Fathom welcomes inclusivity and accessibility expert Carissa Merrill to experience research and design role

Carissa Merrill

Carissa thrives in ambiguous spaces and will help propel forward projects in new and emerging technologies for Fathom’s clients.

Fathom Consulting is pumped to welcome Carissa Merrill to the team as our newest experience research and design consultant! Carissa will support our clients in the medical device and healthcare industries (and beyond) to create and innovate their digital and physical products. She’s already well on her way supporting complex problem-solving for major medical device companies—including fielding research around data integration between technology platforms, and designing a critical user interface used in the operating room for heart procedures.

“We are excited to integrate Carissa’s breadth of research and design expertise—including voice UI design and accessibility—into the firm,” says Managing Partner Kate McRoberts. “Plus, Carissa authentically leads with empathy and curiosity, and has a clear desire to make things better for all humans. She’s already making an impact with the team and with our clients.”  

Admittedly, Carissa’s arrival to Fathom was long time coming. On the cusp of accepting an offer to join the Fathom team more than a year ago, Carissa was presented with a can’t-pass-opportunity to be a lead instructor at Prime Digital Academy, a Minneapolis user experience “bootcamp” developing the next generation of digital problem-solvers ready to change the world through software. Good things come those who wait, though, as Carissa joined Fathom this summer and brought along her connections to Prime. Carissa’s passion for mentorship led to the launch of Fathom’s inaugural internship program; just a few weeks after beginning her role, she helped to welcome and foster two rising researchers and designers through a six-week learning experience.

Prior to her stint at Prime, Carissa led projects focused on accessibility and inclusivity through her own consulting firm and for major organizations in healthcare and financial services. And she’s no stranger to putting her ideas out into the world, serving as a guest speaker with Project Voice, Ai4, and even the New York Times on relevant topics like accessible voice design.

Carissa is excited to bring her own voice to Fathom, exploring new environments and thriving in ambiguity. “I love to learn about new, disparate things, and get a lot of information input to inform new directions, strategies, or design,” she says. “I am also wildly interested in ecology and bring many analogies and learnings from the natural world into my work. Lately, I’m highly influenced by mycelium and networks of trees!” (It is true, Fathom really does attract many “renaissance thinkers!”)

Carissa’s love of the natural world is reflected in her downtime outside of the office. On summer weekends she relishes a slow cup of coffee over her garden—or, as of late, heading “up north” in her tiny TAXA camper that keeps her (and her pup Frank) very close to nature.  And with a B.A. in Art History and a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Minnesota, you’ll find her using those skills at Twin Cities Maker, crafting CNC furniture, and practicing ceramics and screen printing at her home studio.

Carissa is also passionate about growing a more inclusive community in tech, mentoring early-career UXers, providing training to teams on accessibility and inclusive practices, and participating in organizations like Prime UX Academy, World IA Day, and Women in Voice. “I’m continually learning from the lived experiences of others and applying new learnings both personally and professionally,” Carissa says.

Welcome, Carissa—you were worth the wait!