Student Spotlight: Justin M., ‘16

Learn about the Kent State student experience in UX Design from Justin M. Read more here!

Kent State, UX Design and Career Opportunities

How Did You Feel at the Start of the Online Program Vs. At the End? What Were Your Expectations, and Were They Met, Exceeded or Changed?

When I was considering the Kent State program, I read some UX message boards where posters warned that having a master’s degree in UX would somehow make me less marketable, but now, having finished, the opposite has been true.

Earning a master’s specializing in UX design has opened doors for interviews with great companies and was instrumental in my getting a wonderful new position at a fantastic company. Having my master’s gave me a level of instant credibility with hiring managers. The program was challenging and required a lot of time, but it has already paid off immensely.

What Are Some Skills You Learned Through the Program That You Now Use in Your UX Design Jobs?

In the program, we gained such robust UX research tools and methodologies through working on real projects. I love that the courses were taught by real UX professionals working in the field. I was challenged to come up with creative solutions for conducting research to solve real problems, which has been so valuable in my career.

The breadth of skills and roles we covered in the program is so valuable in working with the team I am a part of, as I have experience working on projects specifically focused on content strategy, information architecture, research, usability testing and knowledge information systems, among others. The variety of projects and courses also was helpful in honing in on my UX specialties.

Why Would You Recommend the Kent State UX Design Program to Someone?

It provides opportunities to collaborate with and learn under some of the top UX professionals in the industry and to build a portfolio of innovative projects, which will only help future job marketability.

What Project From Your Program Are You Most Proud of?

I designed and conducted a research project around the Coca Cola Freestyle machine, where, through field studies, user testing and prototyping, I was able to redesign the machine’s digital interface in a way that improved the speed of the user experience by over 45 percent.

What Has Earning a Master’s Degree From Kent State Truly Meant to You?

It has meant open doors and new opportunities for me and my family. It has ultimately led to a better quality of life for us.

As Alumni, What Tips/advice Would You Give to Someone Who Is Coming Into the Online UX Design Program?

Give your best on every project with the mindset that one of these projects could open the door you’ve been waiting for.

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He is an Associate Professor in the Evaluation and Measurement program within the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. He is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Education degree in Research, Measurement, and Statistics.
Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.
Felesia McDonald, ’14 is an adjunct instructor in the iSchool, teaching courses in the 100% Online Master of Science in User Experience. McDonald is also the Sr Manager UX Design at Optum, a branch of UnitedHealth Group.