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

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Red Hat Cohort Explores New Professional Development Opportunities at Brandeis

By: Andie D'Agostino, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

“As an enterprise software company that relies on an open source development model and the communities that create it, we wanted to broaden our staff’s perspective on open source and to take advantage of the unique, management-focused education available through the Brandeis program. Having a strong foundation and understanding of the history of open source, community development, and product development cycles contributes to professional development and expands opportunities for Red Hat associates, so supporting the cohort of Red Hatters interested in the program was an easy choice.” – Neisha Fredericks, Operations Manager – Open Source Program Office (OSPO) at Red Hat.

Brandeis University has been offering a unique custom education program in partnership with the Open Source Initiative since January 2019. The Open Source Technology Management (OSTM) program is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the open source community through content that is founded in the principles of software freedom and collaborative development. Red Hat, the largest open source company in the world, shares these principles and has enjoyed a close collaboration with the university for some time.

Currently, we are pleased to have a cohort of Red Hat associates participating in the program working toward certification in Open Source Technology Management.                                                                                                                   

Each member of the current Red Hat cohort is involved in the company’s Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (B.U.I.L.D.) community. B.U.I.L.D. is one of the many diversity and inclusion communities within Red Hat that supports cultivating a work environment that thrives on diverse perspectives and fosters a connected community of Black Red Hatters and their allies. B.U.I.L.D. supports Red Hat’s efforts to recruit, develop, and engage Black associates thereby advancing Red Hat’s diverse, inclusive meritocracy.

“The community is voluntary and most importantly, associate-led, with a focus on fostering diversity and inclusion within Red Hat and often contributing to our overall diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy,” said Neisha Fredericks, operations manager, Open Source Program Office, at Red Hat.

The Brandeis corporate team interviewed three of these Red Hat associates half-way through the program to learn more about their motivation for joining and their experiences in the micro-courses. Carl Howell, who is a knowledge management process owner, joined to expand his perspective on open source. His team recently began collaboration with Red Hat’s open source program office (OSPO), and the Brandeis program presented an important opportunity to gain a better understanding of the role and responsibilities of the OSPO to help ensure the services he was providing were of value to them.     

Stacy Hamilton, a workflow and tooling enablement project manager on Red Hat’s Customer Experience and Engagement team, shared that “being able to speak to open source software, open source technology, open source communities … was something I was really interested in being able to do.”     

As more and more companies start to adopt open source software (OSS) in their business practices, it was important for us to design a program that provided content applicable to a wide audience with varying degrees of open source knowledge. Although the Red Hat cohort is only half-way through the program, the students interviewed noted these courses have been enlightening, and have even expanded their knowledge of Red Hat’s own business.     

Stacy has valued the opportunity to work with colleagues around the world and noted that having a similar opportunity in the OSTM program was an added benefit.     

The OSTM program has welcomed students across multiple time zones, from San Francisco, California to Brooklyn, New York to Geneva, Switzerland. Ron Brown, who is an IT Enablement program manager at Red Hat, agrees that working with people from other companies on group projects has enriched his experience in the program.     

He said, “For new ideas to form, for cultures to be challenged, and for things to change, you actually have to step outside that box and try and engage people with different ideas.”

“Brandeis is thrilled to have this cohort from Red Hat participate in the OSTM program. At the Rabb School, we create professional development opportunities that align with industry demand and needs. We are proud to support Red Hat in their learning and development initiatives through this series of micro-courses, digital badges, and certification in Open Source Technology Management.” – Dr. Lynne Rosansky, VP of the Rabb School of Continuing Studies.

We run our four-week micro-courses on a regular basis but can also customize the experience for a team or organization upon request. For more information, visit our website or contact the Rabb School corporate team at partnerships@brandeis.edu. 

 

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Lauren Haynes ‘23

Digital Marketing Specialist at PGIM Investments in New Jersey

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys long runs on the weekend and baking. 

Get to know Lauren Haynes! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

The Brandeis GPS program is great for those working full time or who require a flexible schedule. You get the experience of a full master’s program without having to make any sacrifices for work or your personal life. Also, it’s great to obtain a degree from a top-ranking university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I gained some familiarity with UX in my current role and that sparked my interest in the field. UX challenges me to think differently and put myself in the shoes of the end-user. You want to create an experience that is not only useful but also pleasurable for your target audience.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I love working on the assignments in this program. We work on real-life projects that are directly applicable to the real world. The best thing about UX is that it can be applied to all facets of business from designing a website interface to creating an onboarding program for new hires.

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

I want to create relationships with my professors/peers and learn as much as I can. UX is a relatively new field and I want to absorb as much as I can. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am hoping to take more UX projects in my current role and provide added value to my team. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll learn a lot from your professors who are leaders in their industry and classmates who can provide a unique perspective.

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

So far, I’ve only taken User Experience but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the class so far. It has challenged me to think differently and is directly applicable to my current role. 

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/future-students/learn-about-our-programs/user-centered-design.html.

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.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Gerald LeMelle, ‘22

Software Engineer at Microsoft in Reston, Virginia

Program: MS in Robotic Software Engineering 

In his spare time, Gerald likes to draw, 3D model, and work on web development. 

Get to know Gerald LeMelle! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I heard good things about the program and the opportunity to take classes remotely was perfect for my schedule.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I feel that Robotics is a field that is growing and I wanted to see what new tools I could pick up from the lessons. 

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

It is wonderful! I feel like I’m being exposed to a lot of ideas that I never would’ve seen on my own and the community is really nice! 

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

I’m hoping to continue learning what I can and build the confidence to build my own robot or take my lessons to the next level.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I will continue working as I am now, but likely will take the technologies I learned and apply them to future projects.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be passionate about what you’re going into. Don’t do it just because you’re told it’s the right path, but do it because you want to learn something new. You never lose when you learn something. 

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

My favorite class so far has been 201RBOT-205-1DL : Mathematics and Algorithm Design for Robotics.

For more information on the Robotic Software Engineering program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/future-students/learn-about-our-programs/robotic-software-engineering.html.

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.

Tips for Writing Your Statement of Goals

I have worked with applicants for over five years at GPS and many of them have told me that they struggle with writing their statement of goals. More often than not, this is the section that most applicants leave for last. Their resume, letter(s) of recommendation and transcripts have been received, but they just can’t get over the hurdle of the statement of goals. 

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Tell us your WHY: Why have you decided to pursue a graduate degree? Are you looking to change careers or grow in your organization? The statement of goals is your place to speak directly to the admissions committee and tell them why you want to earn your master’s. 

Use your voice: Let your personality shine through! The statement of goals doesn’t have to be overly formal. The admissions committee wants to get to know you. Explain your passion for the field in which you are interested or aspiring to enter through the master’s program.

Provide additional explanations: At GPS, we don’t have a minimum GPA requirement, however, the admissions committee will review your transcripts. Is there something that happened that affected your undergraduate grades? This is your opportunity to shed light on unexpected complications or what happened at that time.

Ask for feedback: Ask a colleague, friend, or family member to read over your statement of goals. Make sure to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Just start writing: The hardest part of writing your statement of goals can be not knowing how to begin! But just the act of simply writing something down can help break your writer’s block. Start out with a rough outline or a list of bullet points. If you find yourself stuck, take a break and come back later.  

Start your GPS application

Please feel free to contact our enrollment team any time. We understand the commitment it takes to apply for a master’s degree, and we’re happy to walk you through the steps and answer any questions that you have. To speak with an enrollment advisor, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787  

Fall Semester Update

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Brandeis University has announced a comprehensive plan to safely reopen campus for the fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force, which included faculty, staff, and students, consulted with local, state, and national public health and medical experts to develop this plan for the university’s fall semester. Below we have highlighted important plan information that is of particular interest for our students here at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

Available Facilities

While all Brandeis GPS classes are online, there are facilities available to our students on the Brandeis University campus. These include the library, gym, and mailroom, among many others. While these are available to the Brandeis community, there are strict health and safety measures that are required for all of those who enter campus. Access to these facilities are subject to change, and we will keep our students updated as the semester progresses.

Health and Safety Measures

Based upon public health best practices and accommodations for individual community-member needs, the university is implementing the following policies and procedures to create an on-campus environment that is as safe as possible:

High Frequency, Universal Testing: Brandeis will provide high-frequency, mandatory COVID-19 testing to all on-campus community members.There will also be mandatory testing multiple times per month for all students, faculty, and staff who either live on campus or who come to campus several times per week, regardless of symptoms. This will enable us to quickly identify and contain any instances of infection on our campus.

Public Health Protocols: The university will institute a suite of public health measures, including symptom monitoring, mandatory face masks/coverings indoors and outdoors, public hand-sanitizing stations, and mandatory physical distancing. We will also ask all individuals who return to campus to sign a community commitment to follow such protocols.

Cleaning Enhancements and Building Modifications: The university is also taking actions, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and changes to foot-traffic flow through buildings and on-campus pathways, to ensure that all campus spaces and buildings support the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just a few of the many health and safety measures that are being implemented across campus.

Resources

For more information regarding the reopening of Brandeis this fall semester, please visit the following links:

Letter from the President

Campus Health and Safety Measures

Fall 2020 Plans Webpage

COVID-19 Task Force Report

How to Stay Sane during this Quarantine

These past couple of weeks have proved to be trying times for the global community. This transition to an online world has left many scrambling for a sense of normalcy. Many find themselves worried about the safety of their loved ones, especially if they are in the high-risk category. Others are trying to parent during a pandemic while also maintaining their regular work schedule. So, how do we keep our sanity during this unprecedented global lockdown? We have compiled a list of some helpful tips to stay sane during quarantine.

1. Stick to a routine

Being stuck inside can make the days blend together and amplify negative emotions. Creating a sense of structure during these uncertain times can help to soothe nerves. Take some time out of your day to figure out all of the activities that were important to you before the global pandemic. Did you go to the gym everyday? Try to workout at home (there are plenty of free workouts on youtube). Create a detailed schedule and stick to it. Be sure to include  when to wake up, shower, work, exercise, and most importantly, when you can relax. Hopefully this will help to create some semblance of normalcy.

2. Limit your news intake

It is important to keep up-to-date with information regarding the Coronavirus, especially when it concerns regulations or guidelines for public interactions in your area. But obsessing over the latest Coronavirus news can be  unhealthy and detrimental to your mental health. Consider limiting your news intake to just one or two times a day. Also, remember to check the reliability of your news source. One of the best sources of information about the Coronavirus is the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Another great resource for mental health coping strategies during these unprecedented times is NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), which we encourage everyone to read. 

3.Stay physically active

WHO, otherwise known as the World Health Organization, strongly recommends that everyone finds a way to stay physically active during self-quarantine. It’s important to our health and well-being to avoid remaining sedentary. Try taking a few breaks during your day to go on short walks, even if it’s just around your house. And get outside if you can! Just remember that if you plan on exercising outside, to do so by abiding by the CDC guidelines.

Common myths about online learning

Online learning can mean different things to different people. As technology continues to transform the way humans consume information and interact with others, universities have risen to the challenge of providing high-quality digital learning opportunities. But despite today’s prevalence of top-tier online programs and courses, many misconceptions about online learning remain. To deconstruct some of these myths, we sat down with Christie Barone, Assistant Director of Enrollment Management at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

GPS: In your experience speaking with prospective graduate students, what are the most common myths you’ve heard about online learning?

Christie Barone: Many prospective students think they are going to be in a large class. We cap all GPS classes at 20 students to ensure that everyone is receiving a quality, engaging education. Related to that, some prospective students are concerned that instructors will be inaccessible. Our instructors provide direct feedback on assignments and are heavily involved in discussion posts. 

There still seems to be a stigma around online learning. We get a lot of questions about whether a student’s diploma will contain some sort of disclaimer about distance learning. At Brandeis, graduates receive an official university diploma. There is no mention about their programs being online. 

GPS: What would you tell a prospective student who is wondering whether online learning is right for them?

Barone: I would say to someone who is working full-time and trying to figure out how to balance everything that our online format allows him or her the flexibility to choose when they complete their coursework. They do not have to be online at a certain time. Many students (especially those who have been out of school for a while) wonder if they’ll be able to fit graduate school into their already busy lives. Students can take up to two courses before they apply to a program. This is a great opportunity for students to get used to fitting coursework into their schedule and see if online learning is a good fit. I have seen many students have such a great experience that they end up applying to Brandeis. 

GPS: Some students considering online learning might be worried about the remoteness of an online classroom. How do you address this concern? 

Barone: Brandeis GPS students truly get to know their classmates and instructors. This can be through discussion and social forums, group projects, connecting on LinkedIn for networking, and even having many of the same classes with students who started the same program as you at the same time. All Brandeis students have access to Zoom conferencing services for free, and that’s a great way to video chat with your instructor and see them face-to-face. A lot of instructors will be available for phone appointments, via email, and sometimes through a private discussion forum.  Finally, while students technically never have to come to campus, we would love to meet you!  Students do receive ID cards, which grant them access to all campus services and facilities, including the gym and the library. We also invite students to attend our on-campus commencement ceremonies, and we live-stream the ceremonies as well. 

GPS: What makes the Brandeis GPS online learning experience different from other universities?

Barone: Our course content is built in-house. Our instructional designers who create courses and work with faculty are part of Brandeis University, and the whole division is driven to achieve the university’s standards of excellence. Our faculty go through a rigorous, six-week training program to prepare them for the unique nature of teaching online. Going back to our earlier conversation about online learning myths, there’s a misconception that learning online is easier than a more traditional on-campus program, but that’s not true here. These are graduate-level courses and students put in a lot of work to reach their academic — and ultimately professional — goals.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

4 Reasons to Study Health and Medical Informatics

1. Innovate healthcare delivery and improve patient care. Today’s health and medical informatics professionals have the opportunity to truly impact patient care and healthcare delivery. As information systems within the health and medical industry grow more complex with evolving technologies, organizations need leaders who can stay on top of new ways to develop and implement IT solutions to improve patient care, protect medical data privacy, and leverage information systems to make more strategic decisions.

2. Earn a more competitive salary. Your investment in higher education will pay off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median salary for health informatics professionals with a master’s degree is $20,000 more than those with a bachelor’s. Additionally, specializing in health informatics can boost your career prospects. According to the University of San Diego, the average health IT professional can expect to earn $25,927.52 more than general IT professional each year.

3. Open yourself up to a variety of job options. There are many ways to apply a health and medical informatics degree. Graduates develop the skills necessary to create, manage and evaluate information technology systems that are constantly changing in response to new innovations. Health informatics career options range from consultants to informatics nurses to project managers, and professionals can find opportunities in hospitals, labs, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and more.

4. Join a growing field. The health informatics industry is growing fast. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth for health information technicians is 13% between the years 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies offers a Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics that prepares students to improve patient and healthcare outcomes as well as organizational performance and efficiencies . The 30-credit program is fully online and designed to support professionals who are working full time. Learn more here.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps

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