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Alumni Spotlight: Paulita Chartier

Alumni Spotlight

Program: Digital Marketing and Design

Graduation Year: 2021

Paulita is from Dry Prong, Louisiana. In her free time, she enjoys reading, photography, hiking, and bike riding.

Q: Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

A: I searched for months for the perfect digital strategy program. I wanted to learn SEO, content creation, digital marketing strategy, social media, and anything else that I could use to hit the ground running in starting a new job. I wanted to learn all the things I would have learned had I still been working but missed out due to being out of the industry for five years. And I wanted to learn it from a highly respected institution that showed good job results after graduation.

After months of research, I chose Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies’ Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Design program. The program requires courses that directly meet the needs of students interested in becoming professionals in my intended career, which is that of a digital strategy and media expert. This is a job in high demand and compliments my 30 plus years in mass communication. Many programs offer certificates in digital media; however, I wished to bolster myself with as much education and expertise as possible, making a master’s preferable to a certificate program.

I thoroughly researched a plethora of master’s programs. My criteria included class relevance to demand, school reputation, and accessibility via online programs. Although I uncovered master’s programs targeted towards learning digital strategy, the school that came up heads above the rest according to my criteria was far and away Brandeis University’s GPS program.

Q: What inspired you to choose your field of study?

A: I’ve worked for 30 years in mass communication, primarily public relations, copywriting, design, and photography. I have truly loved it. One of the very best parts of my career was learning innovative technologies. The Mac debuted in 1984 and so did I, having graduated in 1984 with my Bachelors of Arts in Journalism. So I’ve grown up with the technologies as they have improved. My industry is zooming towards digital media and I wanted to become an expert in this field, so I chose to obtain a Master’s in Digital Marketing and Design.

Q: Did you enjoy your experience at Brandeis GPS? 

A: I tremendously enjoyed my time at Brandeis. The classes were the right size, the instructors were inspiring. The course material was excellent and prepared me for the new world of digital marketing and communications. 

Q: What have you been working on since graduation?

A: I plan to freelance with my own company, Chartier Digital Strategies. Mostly, I want to gain employment with a firm specializing in digital work and learn as much as I can from that organization. I don’t really plan on retiring until very late in life. I’m not sure what I’d do with myself!

Q: What advice would you give to incoming students?

A: Download all learning material as early as possible. Scan the expectations for the week. Then set a schedule and stick with it. You don’t want to fall behind. Don’t hesitate at all to ask instructors for help or advice. With me, they were more than helpful and they were kind! There are no stupid questions.

Q: What class did you find to be the most applicable to the work you do today?

A: Geez, it’s hard to say which has been the most applicable class. They all were very informative and often fun. The required classes kept getting better as far as being relevant in the real world.

2022 UXPA Boston Fair

On May 25th, Brandeis University was pleased to sponsor the annual UXPA Boston Fair. The event, held virtually on Zoom and Kumospace, offered students and career changers the opportunity to receive mentorship and guidance around career paths in the fields of user experience design, research, development, information architecture, and content strategy.

The fair was especially useful to students currently enrolled in Brandeis GPS’s User-Centered Design program. The online master’s program, which offers both full-time and part-time options, allows students to study at the intersection of psychology, creativity and technology, thus enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of user experience (UX) and engagement principles. 

It is clear from student testimonials that the UXPA Fair was a success on multiple fronts, offering students a wide range of learning experiences to complement their studies at Brandeis GPS.

Student Crystable Rangel found the career panel to be particularly interesting, stating that “each panelist had a diverse background and brought a unique perspective.” Rangel walked away from the panel with a new understanding of the importance of mentorship, saying that, “while I am learning a lot in my program, it has become very clear to me that I will also need a mentor to help with my growth and transition.”

Aashish Maskey, who attended the event from her home in Hawaii, also gained valuable insight from the career panel. She says, “It was great to have some of my questions answered in the group mentoring. I am transitioning into UX with previous experience with healthcare, clinical applications and background in art. It was good to know that some of the skills and knowledge that I already have could be my advantage in breaking into the field of UX.”

According to Gabriele Burke, breakout sessions were “the highlight” of the event, with “very knowledgeable instructors and very interactive sessions.” She says, “Instructors answered all my questions and took a lot of time, which was good for the small group sizes.” This helped Burke to gain useful information about preparing “specialized and tactical resumes.”

Other GPS students made valuable connections during the networking part of the fair. Student Abigail Grinberg stated, “I found it to be valuable to connect with others in the UX industry and hear about their varying experiences. Especially since I am new to the field, I appreciated hearing advice on how others went about finding their first UX jobs. It also was interesting to learn about the types of projects people are working on and the many applications of UX/UI.”

To read more about the learning and networking opportunities offered by Brandeis GPS, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Refaya Priya ‘23

Lowell, Massachusetts

Sales and Marketing Coordinator @ Intertek Small Business Owner @ Renaz Stylofy Founder and Dance Director @ TDS

Program: MS in Digital Marketing and Design

Refaya is a Bangladeshi-American student living in Lowell, MA, with her parents and younger sister. Aside from her professional experience, she loves to do community service. She served as the youngest Cultural Secretary of one of the oldest Bangladeshi organizations in the New England area for the 2018-2019 term. It was a very successful term, and she was also awarded for her work. 

Refaya has also been dancing since the age of four and earned many National and International awards before she immigrated here with her family in 2014. She has since continued to dance and has a team of 30 people at present. In her spare time, Refaya enjoys spending time at the dance school she owns and spending quality time with her family.

Get to know Refaya Priya! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

Brandeis has a great reputation. It’s an honor to get accepted into a prestigious university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I work in the marketing department at Intertek and run my small business part-time. We live in a digital era where digital marketing and design would help me in both the prospective side and the technical side of marketing. 

I also want to promote the work of my dance school outside MA to showcase our creative works. My team was the first Bangladeshi team to be invited out of state to perform in NY and CT. Digital marketing plays a huge role in today’s world, and any field must maintain the best of the best social image.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

Everyone has been so helpful. I am very much delighted.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I am looking forward to exciting opportunities and gaining more insights into the new era of digital marketing. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

Higher level management positions and/or become one of the best young entrepreneurs taking my small business to reach new heights 😀

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Research the market where you want to study and only apply when you find a subject curious and interesting. This is because you enjoy learning when you find the field interesting. It’s like finding your ikigai. 

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Jeyanthi Ghatraju ‘23

Westford, Massachusetts

Principal QA Engineer, Raytheon Technologies

Program: MS in Project and Program Management

In her spare time, Jeyanthi enjoys volunteering in the community and teaching and performing Indian classical dance for the underprivileged.

Get to know Jeyanthi Ghatraju! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?
This is a unique program that combines Project and Program Management, that is available so close to home from a reputed university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
Self-motivation and seeing the need for seasoned project and program managers in the industry.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?
The professors have done an excellent job, keeping up with current trends and providing insightful discussions as an important part of the curriculum. I have also had wonderful colleagues in the classes I have taken so far. They have brought much needed diversity in thoughts and experiences.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis?
I hope to complete the courses with a good understanding of the subject matter and put them to practice in my profession, both in my current position and in future ones.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to look for Program Management opportunities within my organization. I also intend to seek out part-time opportunities in a non-profit to use the skills I have gained.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Stick to the course, come what may! Ups and downs are part of life; reach out to your instructor/peers if you are struggling with stuff; let us remember that most instructors want to see us succeed.

What has been your favorite class to-date?
Program Management – Theory and Practice; but then, I must say, whichever class I am currently taking becomes my favorite.

UX is my superpower

Photo of David Lumerman.User experience is all about solving problems, and having a deep understanding of mechanics behind the actions people take gives a UX practitioner more tools to solve these problems.

Like Batman, the world’s greatest detective, you use a combination of the clues found in our surroundings, in user norms like heuristics, and active listening to users, and even the needs and goals of stakeholders to solve the problems, combat evil (or at least bad UX) ands save Gotham City.

This all begins with asking the right question.

As an adjunct professor at Brandeis the “Why” is something I explore with all the students in the program. The “Why” becomes the caped crusader’s utility belt, and all the tools fit into the various compartments. Understanding the “Why” is key to being able to deliver good UX and improvement for the people we are trying to help. Making things better, more efficient and easier to use is the key.

The most successful students in the program can not only relay the information but use this utility belt to extrapolate and apply the lessons to the work they produce.

By building a foundation of heuristics, applying critical thinking and good observation you can successfully tackle any UX task. The tools may evolve, the user’s gulf of understanding may be increased, but the fundamentals of what makes for good UX and good design form the bedrock of the user experience discipline

A good superhero is empathetic.

If you have ever observed participants in a one-on-one usability test you immediately begin to empathize with the people performing the actions. It’s actually one of the hardest things to do when running sessions, to not interject and alleviate the discomfort you are observing. When counseling students it is something I emphasize that you need to be comfortable with their discomfort for the greater good. The greater good of the project, the design and the user experience.

I see this struggle as a good thing. If UX folks are not bothered by the discomfort they are inflicting, maybe they are not empathizing enough.

UX is hard. It’s a relatively new field that fights to gain a seat at the table. I equate it sometimes as running head long into a brick wall, checking the wall for cracks, and shaking it off and doing it again.

The best of us have a passion for running into that wall. If given a choice, be Batman. Always be Batman.

 

Bio

David Lumerman, M.S., has been an Adjunct Professor at Brandeis University since 2017 conducting courses in including User Interface design, User Experience Design, Cognitive and Social Psychology of User-Centered Design, Design Operation and Leadership, and the Capstone in User-Centered Design. During this time he has redeveloped both the User Interface Design and Design Operation and Leadership courses.

Mr. Lumerman is the Corporate Vice President of User Experience at New York Life Insurance, where he develops engaging interaction for New York Life websites, applications and interactive experiences, and has done so for over 20 years. Previously, David developed online games and game shows with Pearson Television and Uproar! Games, most notably the interactive versions of “Family Feud” and “To Tell the Truth.” He earned his Masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and undergraduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

An avid outdoorsman, David is proficient in Dutch Oven Cooking and is actively involved in running outdoor programs through the Boy Scouts of America. He has been married for over 30 years to his wife Dvorah, and has two sons, Sam and Henry, who are both Eagle Scouts.

Dave is the recipient of the 2022 “Rabb School Outstanding Teacher Award”.

For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Q&A with the Chair of Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate

Bio: Arnold Kamis is an Associate Professor of Data Analytics at Brandeis International Business School and Chair of the Brandeis Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate. He does research with data analytics on information technology, decision support, online consumer behavior, and healthcare information. He has many publications in premiere journals, including MIS Quarterly, Decision Support Systems, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, and Communications of the ACM. He blends social science and data science to make research contributions that are rigorous, business-relevant, and aiming to make an impact. For example, Arnold and coauthors have developed a stable three-year model of CDC data (n = 1.5M) to model why American adults do not obtain influenza vaccinations. He has designed and taught multiple courses in business/data analytics and data visualization. Arnold has served on many journal editorial boards, including Decision Analytics and Health Systems. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University.

 

What do you expect students will walk away from this certificate able to accomplish/achieve? / What will this certificate enable them to do?

I expect that students will walk away with a detailed understanding of healthcare data and the varied approaches to the different types of data reporting, data quality, and risk management. They will learn the lifecycle of healthcare data analytics, from problem identification to data analysis, culminating in effective communication of results with dashboards and other tools. They will be able to think about, visualize, analyze, and communicate patterns and relationships found in clinical and/or financial healthcare data. 

 

How will the skills students learn in this program help them make an impact in their organizations? In what ways will these skills help them support/influence decision-making across their organizations?

The students with this certificate under their belt will be in a position to provide accurate, consistent, and reliable information to decision makers in their organization. By removing barriers to data acquisition, analytics, and reporting, the alumni will support and enhance their organizational processes. They will influence operational, tactical, and strategic uses of integrated information and analytics. All of this will drive evidence-based organizational improvements. 

 

What is most exciting to you about this certificate program? Why do you think it is timely? Why is it of value now and in the future to employers?

I am excited because this new certificate will give students a solid knowledge base and skillset to advance their careers. This will be valuable by itself, but can also be a stepping stone toward their MBA degree. It is timely because healthcare organizations are investing increasingly in data analytics to cope with their data overload. They need skilled professionals to extract value from data and improve their evidence-based decision making. The demand for analytics professionals is growing.

 

Brandeis Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate is a collaboration between Brandeis GPS and Brandeis International Business School. 

Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate

As Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement for Brandeis GPS, I am constantly thinking about the growth of our programs to support our students and our corporate and community partners. 

I was recently asked how best to describe what we do as the Partnership Engagement team at Brandeis GPS. 

The short response is that we create mutually beneficial partnerships between Brandeis GPS and organizations in the public and private sector. We work with our partners to put out quality educational and professional development programs. In this way, we support innovation, employee growth and development, and community engagement. 

These statements are true, but they fall short of fully  describing how we engage with our partnerships – both with our corporate and community partners, as well as with our collaborators from other parts of the Brandeis campus.

 What we really aim to do in partnership engagement is form lasting, meaningful, trusting relationships with the people who make up our partner organizations. We aim to be the folks they know they can pick up the phone and problem-solve with when they see a pressing employee need in their organization or among the members of their professional association.

GPS was born out of a partnership with a local company who wanted to offer rigorous, professional education to their employees, as well as the career-enhancing opportunity to gain a master’s degree. When that company’s leadership turned to Brandeis and asked us to develop the first Graduate Professional Studies master’s degree, GPS was born.

Now, years later, we have heeded the call from another valued partner, this time a major Boston hospital. We listened to our partner, who helped us understand their employees’ need for technical skills deeply embedded in the healthcare industry. We reached across campus to collaborate with Brandeis International Business School and created a Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate, exclusively for working professionals in the healthcare industry.

Not only will the program help students master today’s essential analytics skills, including programming languages like Python and R, and  data visualization tools like Tableau, the Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate will give students the knowledge, skills and confidence to perform quality data analysis, create effective visualizations, and confidently communicate their insights to key stakeholders at their organization. In this way, while this Master’s Certificate is technical training, it also prepares students for making an impact through high-quality, data-driven decisions.

This program is especially exciting for us because it was born out of two collaborations: with our healthcare industry partner (a major Boston hospital) and with Brandeis International Business School.

The certificate comprises a meaningful standalone credential that will contribute to your career in healthcare. At the same time, if you decide you want to continue on to complete a full master’s degree, the credits you earn are transferable to Brandeis degrees.

Credits you earn from the Healthcare Analytics certificate can be applied to the following graduate programs at Brandeis University:

The full benefit of this program, as always, includes the knowledgeable, attentive faculty, GPS student services support, and the flexibility of being fully online.

Written by: Michaela Henry, PhD, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

 

Brandeis Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate is a collaboration between Brandeis GPS and Brandeis International Business School. To learn more about Brandeis GPS Corporate Partnerships, email: partnerships@brandeis.edu 

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

 

Photo of Peiyuan “Augustus” Zhang.Student Spotlight

Peiyuan “Augustus” Zhang ‘21

Natick, Massachusetts 

Manager of Computing Support, New England Conservatory

Program: MS in Technology Management

In his spare time, Peiyuan enjoys making music and learning and reading books. He also likes learning from the news and articles about economy, finance, and management, as well as playing video games.

Get to know Peiyuan “Augustus” Zhang! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

Brandeis is known for having good business management programs. Also Brandeis GPS has a really good reputation on providing industry-recognized part-time online degree programs. 

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I wanted to pursue this field of study to better understand high-level thinking at my job. This helps me to perform better at my job. Learning management knowledge will help me to better understand technology from a higher perspective and provide a clear view of my career path.  

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I would like to use my remaining time to get connected with instructors and my classmates. I would like to expand my professional network.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am planning on seeking more opportunities for me within my organization. Also I will start exploring other opportunities in higher-education and other industries.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be patient when reading classmates’ posts. Be thoughtful and humble when replying to people’s ideas. Be proactive when learning from instructors and others.

What has been your favorite class to-date?

RMGT 110, RMGT 160, and RMGT 103.

 

Studying with Brandeis for Not 1, Not 2… But 3 Degrees

Photo of Jamie.When I first started my journey with the Brandeis GPS program I took on a new role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I chased my curiosity to learn all things possible about Strategic Analytics and how I could apply my graduate learnings within my career. As I took on Graduate School head on, working full time and being part of a highly visible organization wide CRM Implementation project, Brandeis GPS helped me to be more confident in myself as a person, in my networking abilities, and as courses passed by each week I was able to develop my authentic self. Never did I think that a 100% online program could teach so much!

The Strategic Analytics program helped me to become a data master. While my GPS peers and I took on detecting trends and patterns in data through course assignments, I was running back to my coworkers to show them what new tips and tricks I had learned in Excel to make data manipulation even easier. As my professional career continued to evolve and the courses with the Strategic Analytics program progressed, the topics of Risk Management and Data Governance became a sweet spot to me. Conversations in both academic and professional settings became more meaningful with having the academic underpinnings to understand when risks and issues needed to be raised based on thoughtful analysis. With courageous ability, I became comfortable in suggesting action steps to provide to leadership of myriad levels as recommended project solutions to steer scope and budget in the right direction. 

As the Strategic Analytics program wrapped up, it became apparent to me that not only did I have a passion for learning, but I also had a newfound passion for teaching others based on best practices I had learned along my career journey. Brandeis GPS offers concurrent degree progression, meaning as my first GPS program wrapped up – I jumped right into the Learning Analytics program with the ability to transfer completed courses to whittle down the number of credits required for completion of a second degree. No better time to learn about Learning Analytics as many students took to the online learning platforms during the pandemic! I was excited to take my passion for data to a new level and apply it to the academic setting, dabble in the basics of instructional design, and investigate privacy and ethics in more detail as learnings within all levels took to the internet. While partaking in the Learning Analytics program I was able to provide insight to my coworkers who led Training classes to help improve their online course curriculums and shed light on the online learning experience based on data that was being collected and available to them. 

With two degrees completed, somewhere along my learning journey Brandeis GPS taught me to keep pushing on to learn more and to never stop chasing my thirst for knowledge! Studying with Brandeis and the GPS programs has felt like learning alongside with my family. Instructors and students are thoughtful, supportive, readily available, prompt questions to challenge thinking out of the box, offer firsthand industry knowledge, and most importantly are willing to go above and beyond to make coursework relatable to real-world scenarios. 

Earlier this year, I completed one project with my employer and successfully transitioned to another to chase my curiosity on how to best support my organization with another project implementation. Being part of the scope of work that involves projects, team collaboration, requirements, testing, negotiation, and difficult risk conversations – I knew I wanted to further develop my knowledge in Project Management, and I knew exactly where to turn to for academic support. Brandeis GPS is still my home, as I continue with my third degree offering, this time in Project and Program Management. Studying with Brandeis in multiple programs has allowed for the ability to network with individuals globally and learn about the evolving workforce head on through course posts, Zoom sessions, and candid conversations. 

While I continue to chase an academic enthusiasm burning in my heart to learn all things possible about how to tie my love for analytics, data, teaching others, and projects together, I owe a thank you to my friends and family with Brandeis GPS for the support, empowerment, and most up-to-date knowledge tool-kit that has set me up for success. When I am asked why I have multiple degrees and why are they all with Brandeis GPS – the answer is easy. There is no other place that I’d rather learn with – from the support of staff and faculty to the current students and prospective – the Brandeis family is like no other. While challenging yourself to grow personally and professionally – Brandeis GPS is always by your side!

Written by: Jamie Everard

Strategic Analytics, class of 2020

Learning Analytics, class of 2021

Project and Program Management, projected graduation 2025

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 work for you 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.

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