After earning her B.S. in psychobiology from UCLA, Valerie studied learning, development, and cognitive psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving her PhD in 1987. From there she worked as a senior research scientist in man-machine interaction at Honeywell Systems and Research Center in Minneapolis. In 1990, Valerie moved to New York to work as an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Buffalo, followed in 1996 by Wright State University. In 2002 she was promoted to associate professor, the position she currently holds.
Valerie has served as co-editor of Cognitive Task Analysis, project director on the National Science Foundation's Workshop on Human Performance in the Complex Workplace, editorial board member of Human Factors and the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and as an ad hoc reviewer in many other scholarly publications. In 2004, NASA honored her team with the "Turning Goals into Reality" award for their work on the Mars Exploration Rover. Current funded research includes user studies on trustworthy collaborative systems, work with the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, an NSF grant for social media enhanced organization, and a consulting position for the use of performance measures to evaluate and document competence and deterioration of surgical skill.
Valerie's research interests include human workplace expertise and communication, and associated empirical and analytic methods to support the design and evaluation of coordinated work.
She is currently working and living in France until the summer with her husband Harry and their two dogs, Oliver and Wendell.