Brandeis GPS Blog

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

Month: March 2022

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.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

 

Photo of Minh Huyen Nguyen.Student Spotlight

Minh Huyen Nguyen ‘22

Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Foundation Medicine

Program: MS in Bioinformatics

In her spare time, Minh enjoys cooking, and volunteering for a non-profit organization operated by a team of volunteers who are international students and Vietnamese professionals around the world to promote activities and provide free courses related to STEAM education for Vietnamese young students. 

Get to know Minh Huyen Nguyen! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose to apply for the Master of Science in Bioinformatics at Brandeis University because I was drawn to its perspectives in providing students with the cutting-edge intellectual approaches to multiple complex biological systems through big data wrangling, synthesis, experiment design, and computational solutions based upon a multidisciplinary foundation. 

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I was always interested in science and technology, and how it contributes to the development of human well-being through biomedical research and practical applications with information technology. With my background in biochemistry and data analytics during college and then pursuing a career in the biotech industry, it really inspires me to choose to apply to the MS in Bioinformatics program.   

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

The lessons are structured well and really engage students with the contents from the courses, despite the virtual platform of the program. The weekly discussion forum also provides a good opportunity for the students to participate in the conversation with the classmates and the instructors, and to learn from each other’s perspectives.

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

I hope to take courses that would help me extend my knowledge about the useful bioinformatics tools and techniques and how to apply them to solve real-world problems in the jobs.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I’ll continue to pursue my career in Biotech and further explore opportunities that I can apply what I have learned from the courses at Brandeis.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be ready to work independently and learn from “outside of the box”.

What has been your favorite class to-date?

RBIF111, challenging but indeed a very helpful course.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Santiago

Faculty: Elizabeth Santiago

Program: Learning Experience Design

Course: RIDT 110 Foundations of Instructional Technology for E-Learning

Bio: Dr. Elizabeth Santiago is the Program Chair of the Master of Science Learning Experience Design program, providing program oversight, industry expertise and program leadership. Prior to her role at Brandeis, she was the Chief Program Officer at the national nonprofit, MENTOR, where she was responsible for and actively involved in the management of programs and services for a wide range of stakeholders in the youth development and mentoring field. Elizabeth gained extensive experience in program management and development, learning design, curriculum development, training and professional development with organizations such as Jobs for the Future, Simmons College, Babson College, Houghton Mifflin, and World Education. She has specific experience in working with vulnerable or marginalized youth and the systems and people that serve them. She has taught high school equivalency courses within school districts, community-based organizations and through unions, and managed the GED/high school equivalency program at the Harriet Tubman House in Boston, MA. She has also built a professional development service for teachers and principals designing education programs for first generation college goers.

Dr. Santiago earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College and a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Technology, Innovation and Education Program. In 2020, she earned a PhD in education studies at Lesley University

Why is this course important or valuable to a Learning Experience Design student?

In the learning design field, designers are called upon to make recommendations around the appropriate technology to meet the needs of a specific audience. This course introduces students to the technologies, systems, and toolsets commonly used to support the design, delivery, and assessment of synchronous and asynchronous online learning and training. Students will be able to explore appropriate learning technologies that solve real-world problems.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

If there is one skill all learning designers have it’s problem-solving. This course will allow us to analyze and discuss solutions to scenarios that play to learning designers’ core strengths. I enjoy teaching in a way that is collaborative and focused on community-building and the discussions in this course are so rich because they do allow students to share their own experiences and solutions to common challenges.

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

Alumni Spotlight: Annie Harrison

Program: Digital Marketing and Design MS

Graduation Year: ’21

Current Company: The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

 

How a background in journalism has been an asset to my master’s studies and career in strategic communications & marketing

When I made the decision to transition from a career in journalism to a career in media relations and marketing, I knew I needed to broaden my skill set. While I had plenty of writing experience, I did not have a background in design or data analytics. I had taken a few graduate classes previously at another institution, but I hadn’t yet found a program that I felt would prepare me for the fast-evolving environment and challenges of communicating in a digital era.

I was fortunate enough to enroll in GPS’s Digital Marketing and Design program while as a staff member at the Brandeis Library, and immediately I knew I was in good company. Although my faculty and students came from different industries, we all had similar interests and had experienced similar challenges in our work, such as needing to increase newsletter open rates, improve user experience navigating websites, and make our content more accessible. It was encouraging to see so many of my peers had similar career paths and could relate to the experience of going from writing news articles to pitching story ideas and building multichannel marketing campaigns.

My writing background was an asset when I started the program, and I was eager to learn how to take those fundamental skills and create marketing content that was both concise and meaningful for our audiences. I appreciated how I could take each week’s lesson and almost instantly apply it to my work designing newsletters, building webpages, and drafting social media content. Being able to share my real-world successes and struggles with my classmates and learn from their insights helped me become not only a better writer but also a more strategic communicator overall.

I had only taken traditional classes before, so I was initially concerned about whether the online format would be a good fit for me, but I found that I felt more connected to my faculty and classmates through engaging in regular assignments and message board discussions throughout the week as opposed to seeing them in-person once a week. As a plus, the online format gave me the flexibility to work on assignments on my own time, whether it was during my lunch break or on a Sunday evening. I was able to complete my program within three years while working full-time, and within months of graduating, I was pleased to accept a new role as the senior communications specialist at the Heller School in summer 2021.

I’m excited about the new opportunities ahead, and I’m grateful to GPS for helping give me the tools and connections to take my career to the next level.

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

Q&A with Aline Yurik Program Chair for Software Engineering

Dr. Aline Yurik serves as the Program Chair of the Software Engineering degree program at Brandeis GPS!

In addition to her role as Program Chair, Aline works as the Director of Software Engineering at Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts. Aline holds a PhD in Computer Science, Master of Arts in Computer Science, Master of Science in Information Technology and Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, all from Brandeis University – Go Judges!

Read on to learn about Aline’s career path, her excitement about Internet-of-Things (IoT) and how to leverage course projects for your software industry job search:

Q: Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to the professional position that you are in today?
A: After completing my PhD in Computer Science from Brandeis University, I pursued a career in the software and IT industry, as I wanted to apply what I had learned to real-life software systems. Starting out as a software engineer, I enjoyed the process of creating software to address the needs of people and organizations. I became interested in software design and architecture, as a way to create software systems that scale well and are adaptable to new capabilities. Over time, I have had solution architect roles, as well as progressive technical management roles.

On the management track, I started out as a technical team leader, and progressed to a development manager and currently an IT director role, leading a software implementation and quality assurance team.

In parallel with my software industry work, I have pursued my passion for teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Brandeis GPS. I have taught a variety of software engineering courses since the start of the Master of Software Engineering (MSE) in 1997. In my role as Program Chair, I work on program curriculum, ensuring that the MSE courses reflect the latest best practices and technology achievements in the software industry and prepare MSE graduates for a successful career in the software engineering field.

Q: What is an emerging trend in the software engineering field that is exciting you?
A: Internet-of-Things (IoT) is bringing a new revolution to everyday devices and objects in our world. It is powering the concept of smart cities, with technology optimizing traffic and helping manage infrastructure and buildings. IoT will be changing how we live in our homes with smart appliances, smart security systems, and virtual reality/augmented reality-enabled entertainment, gaming and educational options.

IoT is opening new opportunities for medical, healthcare and fitness fields, with new medical devices that can help people better manage chronic diseases, get rehabilitation support and improve their overall fitness. There are a lot of exciting things that IoT will be bringing to our lives!

Q: Do you have any advice for students who are planning a job search in the software engineering space?
A: I recommend to use the software projects you have worked on in your courses as your portfolio that you can showcase with the potential employers. Think about design, architecture, technology and process decisions you have made in these projects and create an overview that highlights important decisions and lessons learned from these software projects. Also, be open-minded about applying to a variety of roles, as there are many opportunities in the software field that span all phases of a software development lifecycle. You may discover that your prior experiences and interests make you a perfect fit for a role you may not have considered!

Q: What is a fun fact about you that students may not already know?
A: I started tap dancing several years ago, and have been enjoying it tremendously! Tapping is both a fun physical activity and also a mental challenge as we are making rhythm and sound with our feet. Learning and practicing a new dance choreography is something I look forward to every week!

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

Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Faculty: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Program: User-Centered Design

Course: RUCD 190 Capstone

Awards: Usability Professionals Association: Lifetime Achievement Award 2009

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

Why is this course important or valuable to a UCD student?

The Capstone course brings together all the skills and knowledge the UCD student has obtained from the UCD program. The Capstone allows them to apply these skills to a project of their choosing, perhaps one they have been thinking of for a while, or a brand new idea. This class is a wonderful opportunity to create a strong portfolio piece that they can use when they interview for a job.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

 I enjoy engaging with the students as they give birth, grow and refine their ideas. Since this is often one of the last classes, the UCD students come into the class with strong skills. The journey from the inception of their idea to a fully designed clickable prototype in one term is amazing.

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student?

The final presentation is the best part because it provides the student with experience of presenting their original project to the UCD Advisory Board, who then provides support, mentorship, and invaluable feedback on the work.  The Advisory Board is a strong network of seasoned UCD professionals that helps build a strong network for the UCD student.

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

Faculty Spotlight: Sean Milligan

Faculty: Sean Milligan

Program: Project and Program Management

Course: RPJM 119 The Human Side of Project Leadership

Awards: 2019 Outstanding Teacher Award, RABB School of Continuing Studies

Education: Brandeis University, M.S.

Bio: Sean J. Milligan, MS, has over twenty-five years of experience in managing enterprise projects and resources in a number of industries. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a member of the South Florida chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) He is currently the Global Director of Professional Services for a company specializing in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for for the food and beverage manufacturing industry, and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sean received his M.S. in Project and Program Management from Brandeis in November of 2014, and is also a certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner.

Sean specializes in leadership throughout the personal, team, and organizational layers of Project Management and service delivery, as well as the human dynamics inherent in a collaborative approach to meeting demands of stakeholders and organizations. While Project Management has evolved from a scientifically driven approach to a people-focused mindset as a result of a shift in human factors, Sean’s focus on these factors brings a more holistic approach to leading teams and projects.

Why is this course important or valuable to a PPM student?

Project Management has evolved over the years and requires much more than the science of project plans, risks, issues, etc. Project Managers must now become people leaders and incorporate the art of leading without a direct line of authority.  The Human Side of Project Leadership course gives students valuable insight into the human and team dynamics that make for successful projects and happy stakeholders.  Adding this layer of insight enables Project Managers to achieve the valuable balance between project objectives and people objectives.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

I enjoy teaching the Human Side of Project Leadership course because of the fantastic “a-ha” moments that I get to witness throughout the course.  The course strikes a balance between individual introspection and observance of others in specific scenarios that create a valuable awareness of how individuals and teams operate, and because students are participating in team assignments, they get to see these real-life scenarios play out before them.  Students learn so much about themselves as leaders that it easily translates into how they view and lead others, which is fun to see.

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student?

Get ready to interact with and learn a LOT about your fellow students in this course!

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

 

© 2022 Brandeis GPS Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Protected by Akismet
Blog with WordPress

Welcome Guest | Login (Brandeis Members Only)