The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Tag: Student Spotlight (page 1 of 3)

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.

 

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.

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 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.

Student Spotlight on Dylan Alinsky

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Dylan Alinsky!

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

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

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

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

Fun facts about Dylan

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Cookie Dough

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

  • I would learn another language

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

Student Spotlight on Shawanda Legall

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Shawanda Legall!

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

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

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

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

Fun facts about Shawanda

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Butter Pecan

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

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

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

Student Spotlight on William J. Hiraldo

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

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

Fun facts about William

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Movie Theaters

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Caramel Pecan

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

  • I would go shopping

 

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

Student Spotlight on Anthony Nguyen

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Anthony Nguyen!

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

Fun facts about Anthony

Movie theater or Netflix?

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

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Cookies and Cream

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

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

 

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

Student Spotlight: Becky Hoyt

Student Spotlight: Stuart Mitchell

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