Why choose Drexel?
My college search process was fairly straightforward. Out of high school I attended community college while working part time and received an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. While I discovered what areas I knew I wanted to major in, Drexel's Interactive Digital Media program looked to be a perfect fit.
Why choose Interactive Digital Media?
I chose Interactive Digital Media as a major because it had a diverse range of disciplines. You could find the area best aligned with your skills and interests, but still learn enough to navigate and understand other disciplines. Additionally, I went into Drexel knowing I was pursuing a major in a field with no shortage of jobs.
What was your favorite class?
My favorite class at Westphal was User Experience Design. In the class, I learned User Experience Design was a field that checked off a number of the boxes I was looking for: creativity, problem solving, and visual design, among others. Most importantly, I discovered the importance of truly empathizing with whoever your users are for a certain project. A huge part of being a UX Designer is being able to empathize with your users and understand their pain points from their point of view.
How was your Co-op experience?
For my co-op experience I got to work for Bentley Systems as a UX Designer in their Center City Philadelphia office. Bentley Systems is a well-established software development company that specializes in infrastructure-based software. I got to work on real world projects and I was able to show off in my portfolio. Being able to have six months of experience at a major company on your resume and projects to fill up your design portfolio before you graduate is invaluable. I was able to find the position through the co-op database, which lead to an incredibly convenient and streamlined interview process. My co-op absolutely helped put me ahead of the competition when it came to applying for jobs after graduation. While being able to put projects from classes into your portfolio is super helpful, being able to show real world work experience from before even graduating is on an entirely different level of awesome.
What do you currently do professionally?
Currently, I work as a UX Designer with Dick’s Sporting Goods at their corporate office outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I’m presently on their Pricing and Promotions team, and using empathy and design thinking to create and improve better software and systems for the company. It’s exciting and rewarding to know I’m working on projects that not only provide a huge financial impact, but make the jobs of countless employees in the company easier. Additionally, I’m working on spreading how impactful design thinking can be within the company, as well as building a better design community, in and out of the office.
Any advice for Interactive Digital Media students?
My main advice for current Westphal students is to network. I can’t stress enough how valuable networking can be. Get to know classmates outside of your major, talk to professors outside of class, and attend events and conferences focused on areas you have an interest in. Being able to reach out to someone at a company who can make sure to get your resume or portfolio in front of the right person is huge. You can have the strongest resume or portfolio out there, but if your application just gets thrown into the mix with hundreds of others, who knows if or when it might get seen? Enjoy your time at Drexel and remember to look at the big picture. Don’t beat yourself up if your GPA isn’t exactly where you want it to be. In the grand scheme of things, that B- you got in that one class is barely even a blip on your life’s radar.