Brandeis GPS Blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Category: Faces of GPS (page 1 of 14)

Faculty Spotlight: Ross Morrone

a family of five huddle together and smile at the cameraFaculty member Ross Morrone teaches courses in both the Strategic Analytics and Digital Marketing and Design MS programs. Ross is passionate about sharing his professional experience with students to give them a unique perspective on marketing, analytics, and more. He earned his MS in Computer Information Systems from Youngstown University. Ross has personal marketing ventures that include his podcast This is Marketing and a YouTube channel to document his family’s summer camping adventures.

What led you to the marketing field?

I started my career in 2006 as a web developer at Youngstown State in Ohio. It might be surprising, but I have no formal education in marketing. At that time the Internet was moving faster than any marketing office could keep up with and I saw opportunities to immerse myself into new trends and technologies that were keeping pace. I wouldn’t say I led myself into the marketing field as much as I would say that it grabbed ahold of me. I fell in love with the idea that through design, marketing, advertising and branding I could help connect customers in a meaningful way to whatever any business was selling.  

What industry trend is currently exciting you?

The focus on data! Data rules the world and I’m excited that there is this trend in higher education that is focused on programming around helping to create professionals that understand how that data impacts everything from marketing to business operations. The challenge is creating teams that can share that data between one another to help improve those operations in a strategic way. 

What are your best hopes for the students in your courses?

My hope when I started teaching was to bring my own professional experiences to my courses and give students a practical understanding of how marketing works. Over the years, I got to see those ah-ha moments in the discussions where I knew they were taking my lessons and applying them to their own careers. At the end of the day, I teach because I believe through my own career wins and losses that I have experience that will help others. I want every student to walk away after 10 weeks with ideas that will help them in their own careers – the best part is I get to see this all the time. It’s really rewarding! 

Any advice for students or alumni who are job searching or preparing for a marketing job search in the near future?

Do not settle on one idea of what marketing is. Marketing is 1,000 different things that make up the whole. Read about new trends, think innovatively and try everything you can. I’ve failed over and over with marketing ideas, not landing a client I wanted to or investing in a campaign that did not turn out well – and I still do all the time. It’s through that process I have a better understanding of why and what needs to be done differently to be successful for whatever business I am working with. It’s easy to feel like you have imposter syndrome in marketing when a marketing strategy doesn’t pan out the way you thought it would, but if you are willing to learn from it you will continue to flourish in your career. 

What is a fun fact about you that Brandeis GPS community members may not already know?

My wife, Steph, and I manage a YouTube channel (@smorervfun) that focuses on following us around when we camp with our kids in the summer. It’s our second YouTube channel that we have (the other is @RandomReviewsHowTos) that we are hoping to monetize next year. Is this a cheap marketing plug? You betcha! But it’s a great way for us to capture those moments with our kids and have others follow along, plus, we have those videos to watch forever. We’ve also made a lot of friends that we get to regularly see at campgrounds that have found us through YouTube and it’s awesome to have that community on the trails! 


For more information on the Strategic Analytics MS, the Digital Marketing and Design MS, or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Q&A with Steve Dupree

man smiles into camera

Steve Dupree, Program Chair of Digital Marketing and Design MS

Steve Dupree, program chair of the Digital Marketing and Design MS, has more than a decade of experience helping startups across multiple industries achieve $1B+ valuations through digital marketing and tactical customer acquisition. After receiving an MBA from Stanford University, he dabbled in venture capital before exiting to build companies again. Steve continues to invest in and advise promising entrepreneurs in his free time. In addition, Steve did his undergraduate degree at Brandeis – Go Judges! 

What led you to a career in digital marketing and design?

After graduating from Brandeis with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics, I sort of stumbled into digital marketing. At that time, few people knew and no one told me that math and science would be critical for the emerging field of digital marketing. It turned out to be a fun path: digital marketing is an interdisciplinary field utilizing math, economics, psychology, design, computer science, writing, communication and engineering. You use all sides of the brain.

What emerging trends in the field are currently exciting you?

One emerging trend that excites me is the uptick in companies trying to democratize personal data and give control back to individuals. In the past two decades, a handful of well-known companies have dominated marketing channels and been opaque about which data is collected and how it is used. I hope this is starting to change so that we can provide more value to consumers, reduce misinformation and level the playing field when it comes to folks having access to opportunities such as online job postings.

Do you have any tips or tricks for Brandeis GPS community members who are pursuing a job search in digital marketing and design currently or planning one soon in the near future?

When pursuing a job search in digital marketing and design, don’t just apply cold through company websites or portals such as Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs. For hiring managers, it’s difficult to surface you among dozens or hundreds of resumes if they don’t know you. Try to identify the hiring manager(s) and find a mutual contact to introduce you. If that’s not possible, contact them directly with a brief email stating your interest and a relevant question or offer to help on a project. DMD candidates in particular might look at specialized job boards such as jobs.GrowthHackers.com. 

As program chair, what are your best hopes for Digital Marketing and Design students and alumni?

My hope is for you to find a product, service or cause that you truly believe in and use your digital marketing and design skills to scale it up. Most organizations, whether they are for-profits, nonprofits, universities, governments or other institutions have some leaders at the top with really good ideas, but they don’t always know how best to implement those ideas. They need our help. They need people like us who can, for example, take complicated concepts and deliver them to mainstream audiences in meaningful ways. Some orgs prioritize marketing more than others. If yours doesn’t appreciate what you do or lacks the culture to grow, then find another one that nurtures you!

What is a fun fact that Brandeis GPS community members may not already know about you?

I’ve gotten really into board games over the past five years. Some of the games I kickstarted back in 2017 are still arriving and I don’t have space for them! I want to reduce the friction to discovering, learning and playing new tabletop games and there are a few pathways that look interesting. I’m open to exploring other perspectives and exchanging ideas about it.


For more information about the Digital Marketing and Design program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Q&A with Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Faculty: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Program: User-Centered Design

Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SM and Goddard College, B.A.

Bio: Elizabeth Rosenzweig is a design researcher whose mission is to use technology to make the world a better place. She believes that the best design comes from good research. This all starts with a user-centered design. From volunteer events, design challenges, and research projects. Elizabeth has been able to push the bounds of the current status quo and innovate. Examples include founding running World Usability Day, producing 4 Patents on intelligent design for image management and organizations, long-term impact on Medicare.gov, yearlong study on body-worn cameras, and other projects. Rosenzweig’s work can be seen at designresearchforgood.org.

 

How did your career journey lead you to User-Centered Design? What has the path been to becoming a design researcher?

I started my career as a photographer and a graphic designer.  I thought that visual art/design was going to be my career journey. But an unexpected development happened when I applied to graduate school and ended up  at the MIT Media Lab.  There I had a front row seat to the development of user centered design, human-computer interaction and UX. My volunteer work at various organizations has confirmed how important our field really is.  It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of this developing field.

 

What design and/or technology trends are currently exciting you?

Intelligent user interfaces (IUI) have been something that has always interested me. In fact I did quite a lot of research on it. Using IUI to help put humans first, through the field of human-centered artificial intelligence(HCAI). HCAI is very exciting to me and has the potential to change the world in a positive way because it includes not only UCD but ethics and goals, 

 

What are your best hopes for the students in your courses?

I hope my students come to know how important our work is to our society.  UCD is our hope for the future, by putting the human at the center of design can ensure we create products and services that help solve our biggest problems.

 

Do you have any advice for Brandeis GPS community members planning a job search in UX?

We can use our UX skills in every aspect of our lives including our job search.  Define your own persona, what are your goals, do you want to do UX design or UX research? In the interviews, what is the persona of the people interviewing you, what are their goals and challenges. Ask thoughtful questions.   Know your strengths and be honest about the areas you need to develop.  Finally, when you’re starting out. It is important to have a portfolio to show people what you’ve done. In the portfolio it’s very important to describe what you did, the use case, and what your role was and how it impacted the project.

 

What is a fun fact about you that Brandeis GPS community members may not already know?

When I was in college I took a job teaching blind people to ski, the training included a full day skiing blindfold. Before that training, I had imagined what it would be like if I were blind, but living a day without seeing made me realize that experience was not one I could even imagine, it was so different then my own experience. That is when I learned the true importance of empathy and how important it is to understand a person’s experience, to put yourself in their shoes so you can develop a product or service that helps them make their lives better.

 

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Faces of GPS: Meet Abigail Kim – Student Advisor

In this next addition of Faces of GPS, we’re thrilled to introduce Abigail Kim, who will be taking on the role of Student Advisor. Read below to learn more about Abigail and her position at GPS!

Get to know Abigail!

Q: What are some fun facts about you?

I absolutely love to cook. It’s my favorite creative outlet. I love looking at a bunch of recipes and then winging it from there- it usually turns out pretty good. Fitness is also a huge part of my life. In addition to my role as a Student Advisor at GPS, I also teach pilates classes part time.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I grew up in a small town in Connecticut (Somers) so I knew that for my undergrad experience, I wanted to try a bigger city out. I completed my Bachelor’s degree at Suffolk University in Boston, MA and studied Psychology and International Affairs. After graduating, I started working in college admissions at Wentworth Institute of Technology as well as Northeastern University. While working full time at Northeastern, I enrolled in a Master’s degree program through their College of Professional Studies, a fully remote, asynchronous degree program very similar to our GPS. My time in my graduate studies was awesome. I loved the flexibility that the program provided and the experience working with students and faculty based all over the United States and even all over the world.

Q: What inspired you to work at GPS?

In my previous job, part of my role entailed serving as a student advisor at a private High School. This part soon became my favorite aspect of my role. I loved connecting with my students and helping them to succeed in their studies. When I decided to move on from my previous role, I knew that I wanted to focus on positions that would help me find that advisor title again.

Q: What are the responsibilities of your role at GPS?

All things related to supporting GPS students and keeping them on track in their programs! I’ll be here to assist you with registering for courses, suggestions for upcoming courses to take, navigating relationships with your instructors, and making sure you’re on track with and aware of all registration deadlines and start dates. I’m also here to serve as your first point of contact, any question you have or anytime you don’t know who to go to, you can come to me and I’ll help connect you with the right person.

Q: What excites you the most about your new position at GPS? What are you most looking forward to?

Having experienced what it was like to complete my Master’s degree in an asynchronous, online program, this role at GPS seemed like the perfect fit for me. Knowing the challenges and rewards of juggling a full time job, a personal life, and a degree program is something that I look forward to supporting my students with. I’m looking forward to building relationships with the students that I advise and helping them with anything they need to help make their experience in their program a success.

To connect with Abigail or any other member of the GPS advising team, please visit our Advising page.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Read more Faces of GPS stories.

Faces of GPS: Meet Meredith Faxon – Assistant Director of Admissions

In the past few months, we have been lucky enough to welcome several new members to the GPS team. To introduce these outstanding individuals to the rest of the community, we’re bringing back Faces of GPS!

The first person we’d like to introduce is Meredith Faxon, our new Assistant Director of Admissions.

Get to know Meredith!

Q: What are some fun facts about you?

In my free time you can find me walking my dog, reading, watching new and old films, hiking, skiing, or trying new restaurants with my partner. We bought our first home in July 2022 and I expect most of my free time will be spent on house projects! 

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I am a New Hampshire native and can honestly say I love living there. I grew up in Bedford, NH and spent a lot of time playing soccer, spending time with my brother and sister outside, and hiking, skiing, and camping. I started my undergraduate degree in Virginia, and ultimately decided to come back to the University of New Hampshire to finish my degree in Marketing and Economics. I met lifelong best friends at UNH, and was fortunate enough to spend a semester in London, where my world truly opened up. I traveled Europe nearly every weekend, and discovered my passion for exploration and global learning. 

After graduation I spent two years working at the University of New Hampshire as an international student recruiter, where I frequented East and Southeast Asia. Some of the best times of my  life were discovering these new countries that I never dreamed I would visit. This experience also opened my eyes to the field of higher education, admissions, program management, and recruitment, and I have not looked back since! 

I spent three years working at Phillips Exeter Academy as the Assistant Director of Global Initiatives, where I was able to learn more about a niche internal admissions process. I worked on sending high school students abroad for cultural exchange, language learning, and DEI initiatives, and even got to visit Peru before the pandemic. It was during this time I also decided to pursue my graduate degree, a Master of Science in Higher Education, from Purdue University. This program was very similar to Brandeis GPS programs in that it was fully online, part-time, and asynchronous. My graduate experience at Purdue prepared me for a position working in a higher education online learning setting. Now here I am at Brandeis GPS! I feel well prepared for this role as I reflect back on my experiences in recruitment, admissions, sales, and my own online learning experience. 

Q: What inspired you to work at GPS?

I feel that I am able to offer multiple perspectives to my new role as Assistant Director of Admissions at Brandeis GPS. My experience working higher education sales and recruitment opened my eyes to admissions, and I knew I wanted to learn more. I also have been an online graduate student, so I can relate to both the prospective and current students at Brandeis GPS. Brandeis University is well known for its research activity and academic contributions to multiple fields, and I wanted to be a part of that as well.

Q: What excites you the most about your new position at GPS? What are you most looking forward to?

I’m excited to help students begin a journey that will change the course of their careers and set them on a path they are passionate about. I remember making the decision to pursue an online graduate degree and it was a really exciting time for me. I’m happy to be a part of that alongside Brandeis GPS students, in addition to working with the great team here and learning more about higher education recruitment, Slate, and admissions/sales.

To connect with Meredith or any other member of the GPS admissions team, please visit our Admissions Advisors page.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Read more Faces of GPS stories.

Communication for Effective Leadership

It may go without saying, but communication is a prevalent and critical component of today’s workforce. The skillset is especially essential for professionals seeking to excel in a leadership role. Regardless of industry, professional communications is imperative for leading effective meetings, mitigating crises, and navigating negotiations and conflict resolution.

“Communications is a critical part of doing business, especially in today’s environment. News travels fast. A bad customer experience can become a social media sensation before the CEO is even informed of the problem,” said Mary Caraccioli, Chief Communications Officer for The Central Park Conservancy. “On the flip side, you can use the power of social media to engage directly (and more deeply) with customers, employees and other stakeholders. You can use the power of the communications revolution to your advantage by making communications part of your business strategy.”

Mary Caraccioli HeadshotCaraccioli is teaching a master’s-level course in Communication for Effective Leadership, a fully online, 10-week class that will help students build on their critical thinking skills and apply oral and written communication strategies to solve organizational problems and drive organizational change. Throughout the course, students will focus on topics such as negotiation and facilitation, crisis communications and public relations, virtual and global communications, and stakeholder management.

By the end of Communication for Effective Leadership, students should be able to:

  • Develop, execute and measure communication plans to manage stakeholders, solve organizational problems and drive organizational change.
  • Adapt communication strategies and use digital technologies to align with organizational, cultural, virtual, and global needs.
  • Build a portfolio of communication campaigns including crisis response, company positioning, and media statements.

This course is available for professional development or as part of several GPS graduate programs. To learn more, submit your information or contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787 or gps@brandeis.edu.

Rabb School 2021 Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Communication, Helping Others, and Growth

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies awarded diplomas to 108 Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) students at its 2021 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23. Although a virtual experience will never be able to replace the gravitas of an in-person ceremony, we do sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the stream, and we are very proud of all of our graduates for their tremendous accomplishments!

Rabb School of Continuing Studies is one of the four schools at Brandeis University. Dedicated to providing working professionals a world class education, Rabb continuously innovates its approach to teaching. The GPS students who have earned their master of science degrees today have done so fully online, with many of them working full-time jobs. 

Arthur Harvey, this year’s commencement keynote speaker, is an alumni of Brandeis GPS graduating with an MS in Information Technology Management degree. For the past 35 years, Harvey has worked in healthcare informatics with expertise building high-performing teams at provider organizations. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Boston Medical Center Health System, and is on the Brandeis GPS Health Informatics advisory boards. 

“The most valuable lessons I took from my time as a graduate student were not really about specifics, they were about general principles: communication, deep analysis, data-driven decision-making, and how to work with all kinds of people in all situations,” Harvey said. Quoting Justice Brandeis, he added, “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”

Harvey continued on to say, “I have three things I would ask you to consider as you return to the industry. First off, what is my organization trying to accomplish and how can I help? Does my team know this as well? Next, what new skills have I acquired or practiced lately? Growth is good. Lastly, what have I done recently to help along the career of one of my team members or a colleague? In my experience, we learn a lot about ourselves when we help others.”

The full breakdown of diplomas awarded is as follows:

  • MS in Bioinformatics (8 graduates)
  • MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech (3 graduates)
  • MS in Digital Marketing and Design (9 graduates)
  • MS in Health and Medical Informatics (7 graduates)
  • MS in Health Informatics (6 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security (1 graduate)
  • MS in Information Security Leadership (6 graduates)
  • MS in Information Technology Management (1 graduate)
  • Graduate Certificate in Learning Analytics (1 graduate)
  • MS in Learning Experience Design (1 graduate)
  • MS in Project and Program Management (36 graduates)
  • MS in Robotic Software Engineering (2 graduates)
  • Master of Software Engineering (6 graduates)
  • MS in Strategic Analytics (12 graduates)
  • MS in Technology Management (4 graduates)
  • MS in User-Centered Design (5 graduates)

View a recording of the commencement ceremony here. Congratulations again to our graduates!

Brandeis GPS Faculty Bring Industry Experience to Fully Online Graduate Programs

There is a diverse range of expertise that Brandeis GPS faculty bring to our fully online master’s programs. To learn more about our faculty, and how they impact the student body, we spoke to Brittany Carr, Director of Faculty Operations.

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us what your role is at GPS?

Hi, everyone! My name is Brittany Carr, and I am the Director of Faculty Operations. Some of my responsibilities include recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new adjunct faculty for the school. I am also the liaison between the GPS faculty and the rest of the Brandeis community. When you are coming into such a large institution, such as Brandeis (especially while remote) it can be a bit tricky to navigate it all. I am here to help make things easier for the faculty.

When you recruit faculty, what are some of the reasons why they choose to teach at GPS?

Instructors are interested in joining the team here at GPS because they understand we value the importance of hiring industry practitioners for the role. Additionally, as part-time adjuncts, they can still focus on the valuable work they are involved in at their full-time job. We also run our fully online programs 100% asynchronous, which means that both students and faculty can be based anywhere in the world.

What makes GPS faculty unique in comparison to faculty at other online graduate schools?  

While we require that every new instructor participates in a 6-week teaching training course, our faculty are not lifelong academics by design. We look for professionals on the forefront of their industry, who have a passion to share their work with our students. We value the real-world experiences they bring into the classroom and can provide that hands-on educational experience to our students.

What is the intersection between students and faculty at GPS? How would you describe the student-faculty relationship?

Here at GPS, we keep the class size smaller to ensure that every student feels connected to their classmates and the instructor. Because our programs are virtual, I have found that our faculty work even harder to foster relationships with their students. In addition to the weekly assignments and facilitation, our faculty host weekly office hours over Zoom. As industry leaders, our instructors have often stepped in as mentors on various students’ projects. 

Brandeis GPS welcomes applications for its adjunct faculty pool on an ongoing basis. To view current open positions, please visit our Current Openings page. If you do not see a position that aligns with your experience, feel free to apply to a program – we will keep your application on file for when a potential matching position arises.

Why I Chose Brandeis GPS

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

 Hi, I’m Zanefa Walsh, a Brandeis GPS alum. I’m usually a private person but decided to share my why for pursuing the MS in Digital Marketing and Design because little did I know that the decision would be a stepping stone to where I am today: a digital communications and social cohesion consultant.

The fully online program, which consists of courses such as digital marketing strategy, writing for digital environments, and multichannel marketing campaigns, appealed to me during a time when I wanted to expand my knowledge to better meet the increasing marketing needs of my employer, which at the time was Brandeis. As soon as I learned that employees received 100% tuition remission, I started to explore courses even though I worried that adjusting to online learning would be challenging. I was delighted to learn that GPS offers the opportunity to take up to two courses before deciding to apply to a graduate program. After taking the two courses, I felt invigorated by the high-quality instruction and collaborative environment, that I applied.

I already had a master’s degree from another school, but the second time around as a graduate student differed from my first experience. I was now a mother, married, and working full-time. Finding ways to balance these conflicting responsibilities was essential. Yes, there were times when stress levels were high,  but it was my discipline, an invaluable support system, and effective time management that got me through the three-year journey. 

While expanding my knowledge was a major reason why I pursued this degree, deep down, it was so much more. My why was to prove to myself, and possibly other women of color, that taking on new opportunities and challenges leads to growth, whether you succeed or fail. No one else is as invested in your personal and professional growth as you. A year after completing the degree, I grew so much so that I had the confidence and determination to start my own consulting business in 2019.

With the knowledge gained from my GPS courses, along with over 15 years of work experience in the digital space, I now know what it takes to successfully conceive, produce, and execute a diverse range of data-driven multichannel marketing and communication strategies that build awareness, drive engagement, and foster a sense of belonging/community. Without a doubt, my decision to pursue a graduate degree at Brandeis GPS had an immediate and life-changing impact on my life.  

For more information on the Digital Marketing and Design program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Open source micro-courses that provide the foundation you need to give back to the community

One of the biggest benefits of this partnership is that while the OSI ensures access to open source technology leaders who design and facilitate each course, Brandeis University provides years of experience ensuring that the courses are designed to their standards and that each facilitator is prepared as a teacher as well as an OSS expert. – Ken Udas, program chair of the Open Source Technology Management program

The online Open Source Technology Management program at Brandeis is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the OSS community through content that is founded in the principles of software freedom and collaborative development. The program, a partnership between Brandeis University and the Open Source Initiative (OSI), provides the foundation for open source professionals to expand their skills and give back to the open source community and beyond.

Watch Ken Udas, program chair, explain why the OSI/Brandeis partnership is unique and how professionals benefit from the micro-courses experience.

As program chair, Ken oversees course content and helps ensure that the courses and program remain relevant. He has served in a variety of teaching and management roles at a number of esteemed universities. Ken is also the co-founder of the Educause Constituency Group on Openness and the Jasig 2-3-98 project that are focused on the emergence and adoption of open and agile practices, policies, and initiatives.

When you sign up for one of the program’s offerings, which consists of micro-courses, digital badges, a certificate, or graduate credit, you’ll benefit from Ken’s expertise as well as from leading experts in the field. You will also receive top-notch instruction from known leaders in the open source industry. In addition, you’ll engage with a curriculum that has been influenced and shaped by instrumental advisory board members. Ultimately, the micro-courses and program provide a rewarding experience as you meet, collaborate with, and learn from fellow open source professionals who will impact how you decide to give back to your community.

Join Ken in a live chat on Thursday, June 18 at 12 p.m. EST.  He will be available to answer questions pertaining to the upcoming micro-course, Cultivate an Open Source Community (starts July 6), and the other program offerings. Please register for this free online chat.

UPDATE (6/25/20): Join Ken for another live chat on Monday, June 29 at 12 p.m. EST.  Again, he will be available to answer questions pertaining to the upcoming micro-course, Cultivate an Open Source Community (starts July 6), and the other program offerings. Please register for this free online chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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