The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Category: GPS News (page 1 of 21)

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

McKenzie Little ‘23

California

Design Automation Engineer

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

In her spare time, McKenzie enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, making coffee, and reading. 

 

Get to know McKenzie Little! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I was really drawn to the courses listed in the program and the online flexibility for working professionals.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I was able to have a part-time work rotation with a UX team at my workplace and it really solidified my desire to pursue UX as a career.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I start the first class in my program in a few short weeks! I am very excited to begin my studies online at Brandeis University. 

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

I hope to learn as much as possible and make great connections with other students. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I plan to work in the UX field.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/academics/user-centered-design/index.html.

 

Why Patient Care and Health Informatics Matter Now More Than Ever

The lines between technology, computer science, communications, and healthcare are blurring as information systems within the health and medical industry continue to grow more complex. According to a case study coming out of Belgium, medical and health informatics services during and after the COVID-19 pandemic should be virtual, tailored, responsive and interactive. More and more, organizations are turning to health informatics to improve efficiency and cut costs while delivering better healthcare to individuals and populations. Organizations need leaders who can manage healthcare delivery with new information technology standards in mind. These individuals must possess a deep knowledge of regulations around medical data; the capacity to use information systems to support strategic decision making; and the ability to develop and implement efficient IT solutions to improve patient care. 

The Master of Science in Health Informatics at GPS prepares professionals to improve patient and healthcare outcomes as well as organizational performance. The fully online master’s degree provides professionals with the skills to develop, manage, and evaluate information technology systems in order to improve the quality of care. When we asked Christina, an MS in Health Informatics Graduate, about the program, this is what she said,

“The Health Informatics program was deeply helpful in providing me with an understanding of how and why the field of medical informatics emerged. It provides an excellent foundation of the field, the issues to be solved within the field, and the methodologies and existing theories on achieving better healthcare outcomes, at scale, through strategic implementation of technology.”

It’s clear that health informatics students are learning directly from faculty working in the field, staying ahead of the evolving industry. Our program prepares students to improve patient and healthcare outcomes as well as organizational performance. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Build and implement IT data solutions for clinicians and administrators.
  • Work with data systems developers, user communities and other stakeholders to design safe and effective data governance policies that ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
  • Lead and manage projects that advance change to ensure quality processes meet industry standards and enable the development of innovative practices.

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 Health Informatics program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Amalia Cesare ‘21

User Experience Writer at The Vanguard Group in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Program: MS in User-Centered Design 

In her spare time, Amalia loves to explore the many trails in her area while she trains for a half marathon with her husband. During quarantine, she picked up gardening as a hobby and she is currently starting her second batch of seedlings to plant for the summer. She also lives in an area that is heavily concentrated with breweries, so she has enjoyed trying new suds and logging them on Untappd!

Get to know Amalia Cesare! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis for several reasons. I was looking for a program that would fit into my life in a realistic way. I have two bonus kids, a full-time job, and when I started the program I had recently become a new homeowner and was planning a wedding. Life was chaotic to say the least! I wanted a program that offered top-tier education while also offering me the flexibility to meet my other obligations. I also needed a program that was fully remote because I was not in a position to relocate.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

The short answer is that I was both inspired and frustrated by my experience in the IT field. As a technical writer, I was essentially the first user of a product. My engineers would hand over a final build and ask me to document it. This process exposed a lot of product and experiences issues that we just didn’t have the bandwidth to fix based on where my work fell in the product development life cycle. I wanted to move into User Experience and position myself at the beginning of the product life cycle because I wanted to be able to design meaningful experiences and effect positive change for the users of the products I was working on. 

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

To say that I’ve loved my experience at Brandeis would be an understatement! Brandeis has given me so many things: a chance to learn from industry experts, the opportunity to learn through doing, the ability to network with others in the industry, and the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. At my previous employer, I was able to take on additional responsibilities as a UX Designer/Writer in addition to my role as a technical writer. Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to start a new position as a User Experience Writer with The Vanguard Group. My experience at Brandeis gave me the knowledge and confidence to nail my interviews.

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

I’m planning to complete my program in June of 2021. I hope that, during this time, I can continue to grow my UX network and showcase the knowledge I’ve accumulated with my capstone project. I also hope to continue mentoring students that are new to the program so they can have a successful and enjoyable experience at Brandeis!

What are your plans for after graduation?

While I don’t have any specific plans for after graduation, I’m hoping to continue learning and growing in my new role as a UX Writer. In the future, I’m hoping to transition into UX Research.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Overall, I think the best advice that I could give to incoming students is to not rush through the program if you don’t have to. I’ve taken one class a session, which felt slow to me at first, but I’m so glad that I did. It gave me the opportunity to really focus on and absorb the material I was learning and to enjoy the process of gaining new skills. I’d also echo the advice of many others and say that you should never be afraid to ask questions! I came into this program without a background in design and was worried that it would put it at a disadvantage; it didn’t. If you have a question, just ask. There are many others in your class that have the same question (trust me!) and you’re not going to look silly for asking. This is the best opportunity to further your knowledge and level the playing field!

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

My favorite class so far has been Information Architecture! It was one of the more challenging classes that I’ve taken in the program, but coming from an English background, understanding how tightly language is tied to positive and usable experiences made me feel like I had the ability to apply my existing expertise in a new field. It was also my first exposure to user research, which was both exciting and terrifying! Having to conduct tests with users took me out of my comfort zone, but it has grown into an experience that I love.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/academics/user-centered-design/index.html.

Rabb School 2021 Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Communication, Helping Others, and Growth

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies awarded diplomas to 108 Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) students at its 2021 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23. Although a virtual experience will never be able to replace the gravitas of an in-person ceremony, we do sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the stream, and we are very proud of all of our graduates for their tremendous accomplishments!

Rabb School of Continuing Studies is one of the four schools at Brandeis University. Dedicated to providing working professionals a world class education, Rabb continuously innovates its approach to teaching. The GPS students who have earned their master of science degrees today have done so fully online, with many of them working full-time jobs. 

Arthur Harvey, this year’s commencement keynote speaker, is an alumni of Brandeis GPS graduating with an MS in Information Technology Management degree. For the past 35 years, Harvey has worked in healthcare informatics with expertise building high-performing teams at provider organizations. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Boston Medical Center Health System, and is on the Brandeis GPS Health Informatics advisory boards. 

“The most valuable lessons I took from my time as a graduate student were not really about specifics, they were about general principles: communication, deep analysis, data-driven decision-making, and how to work with all kinds of people in all situations,” Harvey said. Quoting Justice Brandeis, he added, “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”

Harvey continued on to say, “I have three things I would ask you to consider as you return to the industry. First off, what is my organization trying to accomplish and how can I help? Does my team know this as well? Next, what new skills have I acquired or practiced lately? Growth is good. Lastly, what have I done recently to help along the career of one of my team members or a colleague? In my experience, we learn a lot about ourselves when we help others.”

The full breakdown of diplomas awarded is as follows:

  • MS in Bioinformatics (8 graduates)
  • MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech (3 graduates)
  • MS in Digital Marketing and Design (9 graduates)
  • MS in Health and Medical Informatics (7 graduates)
  • MS in Health Informatics (6 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security (1 graduate)
  • MS in Information Security Leadership (6 graduates)
  • MS in Information Technology Management (1 graduate)
  • Graduate Certificate in Learning Analytics (1 graduate)
  • MS in Learning Experience Design (1 graduate)
  • MS in Project and Program Management (36 graduates)
  • MS in Robotic Software Engineering (2 graduates)
  • Master of Software Engineering (6 graduates)
  • MS in Strategic Analytics (12 graduates)
  • MS in Technology Management (4 graduates)
  • MS in User-Centered Design (5 graduates)

View a recording of the commencement ceremony here. Congratulations again to our graduates!

Explore the Latest Design and Development Processes for Effective UX Leadership

When product development and design processes are user-centric, they become more refined and accessible to users. For that reason, companies are integrating user-centered design in their business operations to improve the user experience and engagement across company sectors. As a result, professionals specializing in user-centered design are in high demand. In fact, Glassdoor has identified UX Designer as #27 on their current list of best jobs in America. Professionals who enjoy working at the intersection of creativity, psychology and technology, and who are curious about how design affects learning and behavior, are discovering ways to set themselves apart from their fellow user-centered designed peers. Our MS in User-Centered Design program is an option.

The fully online master’s degree at Brandeis GPS is designed to strike a balance of theory and practice in applying psychological principles and user research to create useful and innovative user experiences. Students explore the latest design and development processes while building the management and collaboration skills essential for effective UX leadership. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Master interaction design and information architecture tools and techniques, including design ideation and prototyping.
  • Understand and apply the physical and psychological human factors that impact how users interact with digital products and technology.
  • Hone your skills in design thinking, qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation, and leadership.

When we asked Theresa, a User-Centered Design graduate, about the program, this is what she said,

“While a student at Brandeis, I discovered new opportunities and pathways for professional growth that I never realized existed.”

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. We will also offer a full-time learning option for our MS in User-Centered Design program. You’ll have the opportunity to complete your graduate degree in one year. 

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

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.

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.

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