Brandeis GPS Blog

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

Author: angelaself (page 1 of 5)

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.



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 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

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.


Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Portrait of Adriana Dianderas.Student Spotlight

Adriana Dianderas ‘21

Wallington, New Jersey

Senior Designer, Healthfirst

Program: MS in Digital Marketing and Design

In her spare time, Adriana enjoys running long distance races, checking out new Broadway shows, traveling, and trying food from new places.

Get to know Adriana Dianderas! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

From my first touch-point with Brandeis GPS, they were, and still are, extremely proactive in responding to my questions and inquiries promptly. I also felt that the course curriculum was a good mix between marketing strategies and user experience design which was what I was looking for in my Master’s program. I also like that they were flexible with full-time employees and provided different options to complete your degree at your own pace.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

There were two factors that inspired me to pursue a degree in Digital Marketing and Design. When I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design, the industry was still driven by print advertising. Nowadays, the industry is driven by multichannel digital platforms. I decided to invest in my education and learn digital strategies and design principles to stay relevant in my field. The second factor was to expand my current design knowledge and combine it with strategic thinking. I believe that this combination of marketing & design will help me in future leadership roles. 

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

It’s been great so far! Professors are easy to get in touch with and are very knowledgeable about their fields. You definitely get to cover key aspects of the digital advertising business, such as researching and implementing user experience principles, budget planning, tracking leads and conversions, writing for digital, personalizing and optimizing content for web, and managing cross-channel strategies to support your company’s goals.

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

For me, every semester is always an opportunity to learn something new! I have two more electives to take, for those in particular, I hope to focus on improving my project management and leadership skills.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I hope that after gaining in-depth knowledge of digital marketing and design at Brandeis, l  will end up in an upper management role where I could make decisions from a creative and strategic point of view. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

To reserve time in the week to focus on school work. It is doable to go to school and work at the same time, but it requires time management and planning. I will also fully encourage incoming students to participate in the discussion forum and take advantage of all the assigned and recommended readings. There are tons of helpful tips and relevant information in those! 

What has been your favorite class to-date?

That’s a tough one! I would say Writing for Digital Environments and Digital Marketing Strategy.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight


Portrait of Adam Burkin.Student Spotlight

Adam Burkin ‘21

Houston, Texas

Markets Reporter/ICIS; Principal/Burkin Analytics

Program: MS in Strategic Analytics

In his spare time, Adam enjoys reading, networking, working on a non-profit, dining with friends, walking my dog, going to concerts, and working out (rowing/weight lifting).

Get to know Adam Burkin! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

The Strategic Analytics program curriculum offered much potential for both my career and personal knowledge ambitions.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I have worked as an analyst/consultant for most of my career, so I wanted to further my education as it aligned to increasing demands around data analytics in a largely business analytics framework.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

The experience has been very rewarding in terms of the course instructors’ guidance and material presented. Oftentimes instructors were able to establish valuable connections between topics discussed and how they fit into today’s business environment.

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

I hope to learn as much as I can within the scope of the remaining course materials, but more importantly offer something of value back to the program if possible.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to apply much of what I have learned in a professional capacity, in addition to analytics freelancing and my non-profit dedicated to analytics education.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Learn to organize one’s schedule with already established personal commitments as better time management is both a critical part of the program and one of the byproducts of the experience, to which I can definitely attest. Also, explore taking courses that do not completely align to one’s expectations in the program as these are the classes that will help expand one’s purview of the program altogether.

What has been your favorite class to-date?

So hard to choose as really all of them were great to participate in, though I did enjoy the predictive analytics and machine learning course as it was highly applicable to my career.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Portrait of Lauren Fox.

Lauren Fox ‘23

New Orleans, Louisiana

Social Media Strategist, PETERMAYER

Program: MS in Digital Marketing and Design

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys dancing, trying new restaurants, reading, and listening to new music. 

Get to know Lauren Fox! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis GPS because of the international student body, curriculum, reputation, and costs. 

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I wanted to build a marketing portfolio that expanded beyond communications. Since I matriculated, I’ve learned about e-commerce, data, go-to-market strategies and ethics. I also wanted to learn more about user-experience/interface designs.  

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I enjoy the curriculum the most. It’s so important to learn about budgeting if you’re in the media/marketing industries. My classmates are experts in their fields and learning about their experiences have clued me into what other businesses are doing in our field. I have a support system at Brandeis and feel championed in my academics/career planning.

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

I plan on graduating with honors, receiving potential awards, or career opportunities through alumni networking. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am really excited to become an adjunct professor. I would love to teach courses that review how pop culture impacts marketing. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Keep an open mind and utilize all the opportunities Brandeis gives to you! Reach out to your classmates; they will give you the support you need when you need help with classwork. 

What has been your favorite class to-date?

Any class taught by Meredith Fortney and Marketing and Customer Analytics taught by Ross Morrone. I have used what I learned in their classes in my career. Impactful courses for anyone who works with ecommerce and data. 


Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Portrait of Dominic Lombardi

Dominic Lombardi ‘22

Worcester, MA

Senior Manager, Security Risk and Trust, Klaviyo

Program: MS in Information Security Leadership

In his spare time, Dominic enjoys hiking, camping and exploring the outdoors with his wife and two daughters. 

Get to know Dominic Lombardi! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis GPS because it was built for working professionals. GPS’s online-first approach allows me to learn from and alongside a global group with industry leaders. 

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue an MBA or an MS in Information Security Leadership, but when I spoke with a program curriculum advisor and mentor Sandy Silk, she had nothing but great things to say about the program, the faculty, and the students. I knew that an MS in Information Security Leadership would distinguish me from other professionals as I continue to advance myself and build my professional brand. 

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

The program has met all my expectations so far; the courses are challenging and I’ve been able to dive deeper into concepts and theories that I’ve experienced throughout my career. In several of the courses, I’ve been able to apply my academic work directly to my profession and company after workshopping ideas and gaining helpful feedback from my classmates and professors alike. I could not ask for more transferable coursework that I’ve experienced at Brandeis!  

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

I know the program will continue to challenge me to think differently about the concepts and areas we study. I hope that my peers and professors continue to provide critical feedback that requires me to dive deeper into subject areas and to continually apply what we’re studying to my company. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

Klaviyo is truly a growth rocket ship – having reached unicorn status this past year with a $4.5 billion valuation. I plan to continue to advance the risk managing program at Klaviyo to help our leaders make more risk informed decisions as we tackle new challenges and take over new markets.  

What advice would you give to incoming students?

The GPS program is what YOU make it out to be. The reading and assignments are manageable, but you can truly revolutionize your career by taking a few extra hours to go beyond the assignments and to think about how your program translates to your profession and company. 

What has been your favorite class to-date?

Computer Incident Response by far! I’ve been on incident response teams and led investigations over the course of my career, but I’ve never taken an academic approach to this domain before; all of my learning in their domain has been experiential, and often, your company culture influences the type of incident response program you build. By approaching it from an academic stance, I was able to examine an incident program holistically and then think critically about what I needed to bring to my company and our program to help mature our response efforts. 

Robotic Software Engineering

The Robotics sector is growing rapidly. According to a Pew Research Center report, robotics is expected to permeate nearly all industries impacting daily life by 2025, including healthcare, transportation and logistics, customer service and home maintenance. More and more, companies are hiring software engineers with a unique set of robotics technology skills.

The MS in Robotic Software Engineering at Brandeis GPS is designed to help professionals in robotics build advanced skills in various robotic software engineering technologies and develop hands-on experience with the technology stack. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Design and code end-to-end software solutions that power autonomous robots.
  • Develop advanced skills in ROS, Gazebo, Modern C++ and other robotic software engineering technologies.
  • Gain hands-on experience with the technology stack to build an autonomous robot, including sensing, perception, planning, manipulation, execution and feedback control.

When we asked Gerald LeMelle, a MS in Robotic Software Engineering student, about the program, this is what he said,

“At Brandeis GPS, 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! The opportunity to take classes remotely is perfect for my schedule, and I plan to take the technologies I learned and apply them to my future work projects at Microsoft.”

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 Robotic Software Engineering program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit

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


Dylan 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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