Introductory Statement

“Social Services” has been defined as an “organized effort to advance human welfare.”  I feel that my own involvement in social services has been on-going throughout my life.  Working as a graphic artist while raising two children with learning disabilities and serving in various voluntary positions for my children’s activities began my adult experience of understanding the social service needs that surround us.  My involvement was reinforced through my interaction with family and colleagues and a growing interest in my Japanese heritage.  This interest in heritage has evolved into a direct involvement in preserving that heritage and interpreting it for the western mindset.  My vehicle for doing this has been the Japanese Influenced Gardens in America.  Through that vehicle, I have developed methods of using nature as represented in the Japanese Garden, to benefit a wide variety of audiences.  The “lessons” the Garden has to teach are timeless and universal and they advance human welfare through increased understanding and well-being.   


  • MA in Applied Professional Studies, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
  • Major area of research:  Developing Programs That Explore Traditional Japanese Teachings And Their Relevance To The Western Mindset As Expressed Through The Design And Content Of Japanese Gardens.
  • Supplemental Course Work in Psychology, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
  • BFA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

Other Studies/Training

  • Traditional Training in Urasenke  School of Tea, Ikenobo Japanese Flower Arranging (earning a teacher’s certification in both schools) – on-going.
  • Exhibition and demonstrations include: Chicago Elizabeth Malott Japanese Garden (Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL), Anderson Japanese Garden, Rockford, IL, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL, Japanese Information Center, Chicago, IL, Green Bay Botanic Garden, Green Bay, WI.
  • Traditional Training in Native American Studies with Native American elders.
  • Traditional Training in Chinese Qigong Practices.
  • 2002 Japanese Garden Seminar, Kyoto, Japan. Numerous orientation and training programs related to Japanese Gardens and wellness. 

Work & Volunteer Experience

  • Director, Shin-Ka LLC, Chicago, IL (2001-present)
  • Consultant for developing programs on Traditional Japanese teachings and their relationship to Japanese Influenced Gardens and well-being.
  • Docent, Docent Trainer, Demonstrator, Trainer for Staff & General Public
  • Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL, Anderson Garden, Rockford, IL, Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego, CA.  
  • Instruction and presentations include: The kara-sansui Garden of Keiunto, Tea House and Garden, Urasenke Tea Ceremony, Improving communication with general public and administration, General public orientation to the Japanese Garden.
  • Volunteer/Apprentice San Sho-En (Mallot Japanese Garden), Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL
  • Hands-on training with the Head Horticulturalist/Gardener, its maintenance, design and history.
  • One Artist Show, Citywoods, Highland Park, IL.  Currently a contributing artist.
  • Instructor of Art, Young Rembrandt School for Children’s Art, Elgin,IL.
  • Graphic Designer, Business Owner of Invest One Designs and Co-owner of Crisp Advertising, Highland Park, IL.


  • Orientation to the Japanese Garden, Urasenke tea demonstrations/narrative, Ikenabo exhibition/narrative – Chicago Botanic Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego, CA, Anderson Garden, Rockford, IL.
  • Well-being for the General Public, Volunteers & Staff – Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego, CA.
  • Improving Communication within the Japanese Garden – Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego, CA.
  • Japanese Spirit of Resilience and Dignity Through Tradition and the Japanese Garden. Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego, CA, 2011.Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL 2012   Coordinator and speaker.
  • 6th International Symposium of Japanese Gardens, 2010.  Presenter: Japanese Gardens and Healing, Building Gardens for Healthy Minds and Bodies.
  • North American Japanese Garden Assoc. Conference 2011, Presenter: Rosecrance, the Healing Garden.

Program Development/Consulting

  • Rosecrance Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Center, Rockford, IL.
  • Development plan for Midwest Buddhist Temple Japanese Influenced Garden.
  • Project with the Japanese American Service Committee Legacy Center to document Japanese American contributions in Chicago.
  • Currently working on a project with the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, IL on a program for individuals recovering from Cancer.
  • All presentations noted above were initiated, developed and executed by shin-ka LLC.

Professional Memberships

  • Midwest Buddhist Temple of Chicago, Board Member, Consultant to Garden Committee, Minyo Dance Group
  • Member and Volunteer, Japanese American Service Committee
  • Member and Volunteer, Japanese American Citizens League.