Brandeis GPS Blog

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Category: Student Spotlight (page 1 of 5)

Brandeis GPS Alumni Spotlight

Black and white picture of Kristen MooresAlumni Spotlight

Kristen Moores, ’22

Raleigh, NC

Program: MS in User Centered Design

UX Designer, American Kennel Club

When she’s not busy working on a computer, you can usually find Kristen exploring the great outdoors for wild edible mushrooms, enjoying a tasty IPA at a craft brewery, or relaxing with her dog Tig. She’s also an avid traveler and has recently had the opportunity to visit some fantastic places like Portland, Maine; Newfoundland, Canada; Tulum, Mexico; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Get to know Kristen Moores! 

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?

I love working with technology and seeing how people interact with it. I’ve always been curious about new technologies and how they might shape our future. I was excited about the opportunity to participate in this process and use my skills and knowledge to help create products that would improve people’s lives.

What was your most valued experience at GPS?

I worked on projects that helped me build a strong UX portfolio – this helped me greatly when seeking my first job. I also appreciated the chance to learn from instructors who were seasoned industry professionals with extensive knowledge and experience. Additionally, I found it enriching to collaborate on projects with peers from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience.

How has your GPS degree prepared you for life after graduation?

Sharing my projects with the class was a valuable experience. It was a great way to gain confidence in communicating my ideas and design decisions to a broader audience. In my current job, I often present my research and designs to my colleagues and project stakeholders. Practicing in class was a big help in preparing me for this.

What strategies did you find helpful as you balanced responsibilities in work, school, and life?

Taking one class each quarter while working full-time worked well for me, as I could focus on one subject while keeping up with my job. Time management and planning ahead were vital for making it work. But it’s important to remember that life can throw unexpected curveballs, so feel free to contact your professors for help if you ever need to catch up.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Brushing up on the basics of design and user research before starting your program is a great idea. A good foundation will help you start strong and make the most of your time in the program. Also, feel free to experiment and play around with different design tools. It’s the best way to learn and grow as a designer – have fun!


For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or any other GPS programs, visit brandeis.edu/gps/.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Rebecca Davis ‘25

Waltham, MA

Software engineer at Akamai Technologies

Program: Master of Software Engineering

In her spare time, Rebecca loves to play different video games across many different systems. She also enjoys doing custom computer builds for both herself and her friends. Outside of computers, she collect plushes, clay and glass figurines, purses and bags, and video game-related stuff.

Get to know Rebecca Davis! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I was sorting through lists of schools with working professional-friendly programs.  I recognized the Brandeis name, and after asking around about the school in general, I learned that Leslie Lamport, a well known computer scientist, had received his PhD from Brandeis. After learning this,  I was certain that I would receive an excellent education in my field from Brandeis GPS.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I originally became interested in programming after taking a Visual Basic class in high school.  I had to fill an elective slot and my guidance counselor recommended it, since I was good at math and liked the teacher.  I fell in love and then went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in computer science.  Studying software engineering is the next logical step in working on improving myself as a developer.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I was initially hesitant about the course format being completely online.  The GPS folks made it easy for me to see if I liked it before committing, and I’m glad I was able to give it a try.  I’ve very much enjoyed working with other students, professors, and the staff.

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

I’ve only finished Software Testing Techniques so far, so I suppose it would have to be that one.  It was a great experience and definitely helped cement my choice to study here.  I am very much enjoying the class I’m currently taking this session.

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

I hope to take many classes on subjects that are new to me.  My undergraduate program was a great foundation, but the classes available to me here will help give me experience in the application of current technologies.

For more information on the Master of Software Engineering or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Picture of Liza Crystabel Rangel standing in front of a tent in what appears to be a desert.Student Spotlight

Liza “Crystabel” Rangel, ‘23

Los Angeles, CA

Product Manager at CreativEngine

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

Crystabel likes to read, draw, and play the piano in her spare time. However, she is passionate about community building and serving underserved populations. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, she understands the hardships that marginalized people face. She volunteers doing community clean-ups as well as distributing goods. She is also currently a Chapter Director in Los Angeles for Techqueria, a nonprofit that serves the largest global community of Latine professionals in tech.

She is a true believer that When We Grow Others, We Grow Ourselves.

Get to know Crystabel Rangel! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?
I chose Brandeis for the courses offered in the UCD program. I liked the flexibility of being able to keep working while also studying. I also received strong and positive reviews of the program, which made Brandeis my top choice. I am truly honored to be accepted as a student.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I started incorporating a user-centered design process at my current job. The more I learned about UX, the more I fell in love with the discipline and industry.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?
My experience at Brandeis has been exceptionally positive. I have enjoyed getting to know my professors and classmates. In addition, the material covered in the courses is highly relevant to the UX field and provides me with knowledge and skills to improve my professional development.

What has been your favorite class to-date?
My favorite class thus far is Design Operation and Leadership with Professor David Lumerman. This course taught me strategies for effective leadership and operational tactics to build teams and manage resources.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis?
I am on track to complete my program in Spring 2023. For the remaining time that I am in the program, I hope to help build and foster a community among the students in the UCD Program to help us stay connected, provide resources, and help each other succeed.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Headshot of McKenzie Little

Student Spotlight

McKenzie Little ‘23

California

Design Automation Engineer

Program: MS in User-Centered Design 

In her spare time, McKenzie likes to visit with friends, travel, hike, dance, bake, crochet, rock climb, and practice yoga. In her most recent trip, McKenzie spent a month in Washington State with her boyfriend and several friends working remotely and exploring the state on the weekends. Exploring new places is when she is happiest!

Get to know McKenzie Little! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis GPS due to the courses in the User-Centered Design program, as the topics were aligned with my career goals. I felt that I would get a lot of hands-on experience through project work and that I would learn a lot from the mentorship of industry professionals instructing the courses.  

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I chose User-Centered Design because improving people’s lives through design and research aligned with my values. I also enjoy being able to express creativity through sketching and prototyping. Also, doing a part-time work rotation with a User Experience team at my workplace really solidified my desire to pursue this career.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I have had a fantastic experience so far. I have met many talented students with similar interests and goals in the program. The instructors have been so helpful and inspiring to learn from.

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

I am looking forward to learning as much as possible in the four remaining courses I have left in the program. I hope to continue to strengthen my relationships with the other students in my classes and to learn from them as well.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I am looking forward to applying what I have learned in the program and expanding my knowledge as I grow my skills in the industry.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

I highly recommend participating in the student mentorship program. My advisor reached out to me about this opportunity shortly before my first course in the program, and it was extremely helpful to have a mentor to share questions with as I progressed through the first few courses.

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

My favorite class so far has been User Interface Design with Dave Lumerman. This course is an elective, and it truly pushed me on a constructive way to improve my skills and grow. I took it early on in my program and it helped me get more comfortable with design ideation as well as prototyping.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Madhumita Sen ‘23                                         

Westford, Massachusetts

Senior Manager & Scrum Master at CVS Health Inc.

Program: Project and Program Management

In her spare time, Madhumita likes to spend time with her family and pets.

Get to know Madhumita Sen! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis because of the University’s social justice foundation, strong culture of diversity and inclusion, and reputation as a place of learning.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

As a senior Agile Project Manager working for a major healthcare organization, I found the need to expand my understanding of Program Management as it relates to agile software development. I wanted to gain perspective on how agile software development might scale at a Program and Portfolio level.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?

I am delighted to share that the last couple of years have been a rich learning experience. The professors are top notch, responsive, and reachable – always sensitive to student queries and concerns. Studying to ensure good grades while balancing a full time job and attending to teenager needs as a single parent has not been an easy journey by any means. I am just thankful to have been able to manage it all.

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

I am looking forward to wrapping up the Project & Program Management degree with some great class discussions while gaining fresh perspectives from other fellow students.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I hope to be able to contribute further in the field of Agile Program Management and mentoring/growing Agile Project Managers. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be willing and open to imbibing new perspectives that might be different from yours. I am always inspired by the following quote:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” –Benjamin Franklin

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

The class I am taking this semester – “Communication for Effective Leadership” – just might be my favorite one yet.

For more information on the Project and Program Management MS or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Refaya Priya ‘23

Lowell, Massachusetts

Sales and Marketing Coordinator @ Intertek Small Business Owner @ Renaz Stylofy Founder and Dance Director @ TDS

Program: MS in Digital Marketing and Design

Refaya is a Bangladeshi-American student living in Lowell, MA, with her parents and younger sister. Aside from her professional experience, she loves to do community service. She served as the youngest Cultural Secretary of one of the oldest Bangladeshi organizations in the New England area for the 2018-2019 term. It was a very successful term, and she was also awarded for her work. 

Refaya has also been dancing since the age of four and earned many National and International awards before she immigrated here with her family in 2014. She has since continued to dance and has a team of 30 people at present. In her spare time, Refaya enjoys spending time at the dance school she owns and spending quality time with her family.

Get to know Refaya Priya! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

Brandeis has a great reputation. It’s an honor to get accepted into a prestigious university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I work in the marketing department at Intertek and run my small business part-time. We live in a digital era where digital marketing and design would help me in both the prospective side and the technical side of marketing. 

I also want to promote the work of my dance school outside MA to showcase our creative works. My team was the first Bangladeshi team to be invited out of state to perform in NY and CT. Digital marketing plays a huge role in today’s world, and any field must maintain the best of the best social image.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

Everyone has been so helpful. I am very much delighted.

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

I am looking forward to exciting opportunities and gaining more insights into the new era of digital marketing. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

Higher level management positions and/or become one of the best young entrepreneurs taking my small business to reach new heights 😀

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Research the market where you want to study and only apply when you find a subject curious and interesting. This is because you enjoy learning when you find the field interesting. It’s like finding your ikigai. 

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Jeyanthi Ghatraju ‘23

Westford, Massachusetts

Principal QA Engineer, Raytheon Technologies

Program: MS in Project and Program Management

In her spare time, Jeyanthi enjoys volunteering in the community and teaching and performing Indian classical dance for the underprivileged.

Get to know Jeyanthi Ghatraju! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?
This is a unique program that combines Project and Program Management, that is available so close to home from a reputed university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
Self-motivation and seeing the need for seasoned project and program managers in the industry.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?
The professors have done an excellent job, keeping up with current trends and providing insightful discussions as an important part of the curriculum. I have also had wonderful colleagues in the classes I have taken so far. They have brought much needed diversity in thoughts and experiences.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis?
I hope to complete the courses with a good understanding of the subject matter and put them to practice in my profession, both in my current position and in future ones.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to look for Program Management opportunities within my organization. I also intend to seek out part-time opportunities in a non-profit to use the skills I have gained.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Stick to the course, come what may! Ups and downs are part of life; reach out to your instructor/peers if you are struggling with stuff; let us remember that most instructors want to see us succeed.

What has been your favorite class to-date?
Program Management – Theory and Practice; but then, I must say, whichever class I am currently taking becomes my favorite.

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.

 

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.

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