The Brandeis GPS blog

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

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.

Project and Program Management

Project and program management can make or break the success of any initiative, and leaders in the field know there are proven ways to get the job done right. According to the Project and Program Management Institute and the Anderson Economic Group, by 2027 employers will need 87.7 million individuals working in project management-oriented roles. Project and program managers are valuable to any business as they utilize methodologies and practices that are efficient and cost-effective.

The Master of Science in Project and Program Management at GPS prepares professionals to strengthen their skills and employment credentials in the actual application of cutting-edge project management best practices, going beyond a singular focus on the theoretical concepts required by PMI testing. The fully online master’s degree, which is consistent with (though not bound by) the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), helps provide students with a competitive edge in the field of project management. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Successfully lead and manage projects across all phases of the project lifecycle.
  • Align project objectives with strategic goals while managing risks.
  • Manage communications and expectations of project stakeholders.

When we asked Amyntrah, an MS in Project and Program Management Graduate, about the program, this is what she said,

“Obtaining a master’s degree in Project and Program Management at Brandeis University was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The structure of the online courses was quite flexible and fit into my crazy work schedule. I found each class very valuable not only to my profession, but I’m also able to use the skills acquired from the courses outside of work.”

The GPS community extends beyond our online classrooms. Students have the opportunity to expand their professional circles and build meaningful connections with our faculty, program chairs, and advisory board members. In addition, our programs are designed to help students balance a graduate education with a full-time job and other professional, academic, or personal commitments.

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

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.

Analyze the Big Data of Bioinformatics Research

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations are increasingly viewing bioinformatics as an integral part of their research processes. They make use of vast amounts of genomic data and produce more complex and accurate biological models. Essentially, they are relying more and more on bioinformatics’ mathematical, statistical and computational methods. With the big data being generated across sectors, there is high demand for professionals versed in bioinformatics. In fact, professionals specializing in bioinformatics excel in applying information technology and complex computational approaches to the particular problems of contemporary biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations.

The Master of Science in Bioinformatics at GPS prepares professionals to analyze the big data of bioinformatics research. Students are equipped to:

  • Process, store, analyze and model large volumes of biological data from multiple sources.
  • Independently provide insights into complex biological systems through data synthesis and application of a wide range of computational biology approaches.
  • Effectively communicate and present bioinformatics analyses to multidisciplinary project teams.

When we asked Kristina, an MS in Bioinformatics graduate, about the program, this is what she had to say,

“I have become a more well-rounded bioinformatician with exposure to other areas of the field. I learned to challenge myself to produce better code and present and communicate more effectively.”

Our program empowers professionals in the field to be innovative leaders. They take their expanded invaluable knowledge to biomedical organizations that are experiencing an increase in computational technology needs and make sense of the big data. As a result, these particular biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations have employees who drive innovation and growth while simultaneously impacting the company mission.

For more information on the Bioinformatics 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  

Student Spotlight on Dylan Alinsky

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Dylan Alinsky!

Dylan is from Colchester, Vermont and is a candidate for a MS in Project and Program Management (PPM) program.

He currently works as a Casualty Claims Adjuster at USAA, and he looks forward to “leveraging the skills and credentials gained from a Brandeis MS to expand into project management and business process consulting fields”.

When discussing the content he has learned throughout his courses, Dylan explained how he utilizes these new PPM tools to help reach his personal goals and achieve professional success:

“Since starting the M.S. in project and program management, I’ve transitioned from a call center role to a leadership and training position at USAA. On a daily basis I’m better enabled to manage risk, as well as drive performance through planning, effective communication, and emotional intelligence concepts”.

Fun facts about Dylan

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Cookie Dough

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I would learn another language

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Dylan thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.

Student Spotlight on Shawanda Legall

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Shawanda Legall!

Shawanda is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and is enrolled in the MS in Project and Program Management (PPM) program.

She currently works as a Sr. Project Manager at Medidata Solutions, and she hopes to “seek a leadership role within her organization”.

When discussing the content she has learned throughout her courses, Shawanda explained how she utilizes these new PPM tools to help reach her personal goals and achieve professional success:

“This program has provided me with the necessary tools to improve my writing, researching, and analyzing skills as a Sr. Project Manager.  Due to this program, I can now tackle extremely complex projects in a different way and it is all manageable”.

Fun facts about Shawanda

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Butter Pecan

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I would become a volunteer coach again for the boys basketball team at the church, implement self-care as part of my regular routine, and learn how to play tennis.

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Shawanda thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.

Student Spotlight on William J. Hiraldo

Meet this week’s student spotlight – William J. Hiraldo!

William is from Orlando, Florida and is a candidate for a MS in Strategic Analytics. He currently works as a Workday ERP Consultant at Huron Consulting Group, and his professional goals are to “become a Chief Financial Officer for a major corporation”.

Fun facts about William

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Movie Theaters

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Caramel Pecan

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I would go shopping

 

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William thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.

Student Spotlight on Anthony Nguyen

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Anthony Nguyen!

Anthony is from Orange, California and is a candidate for a MS in Health Informatics. He currently works as a Senior Clinical Learning and Performance Consultant at BD, and his professional goals are to “help to grow and effectively use pharmacy automation across the country”.

Fun facts about Anthony

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix, but I gotta have my movie theater popcorn!

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Cookies and Cream

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I’d make sure that I always make it to the gym. No excuses now that there’s an extra hour!

 

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Anthony thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.
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