Student Spotlight: Nick G., ‘16

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

A Master’s Program that Sets You Up for UX Success

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 started Kent State University’s UX master’s program, I was excited about the opportunity to advance my education but apprehensive, because I had no UX experience prior to my enrollment. My expectations were to gain a general understanding of UX, develop a foundation for UX practices and be able to build a portfolio that I could use professionally in search for a career in UX.

Once in the program, I found that the courses and curriculum were set up in a way that empowered students to succeed academically and outside of the classroom as industry leaders. Therefore, the program met and exceeded my expectations. At the time of graduation, I felt confident in my skills as a designer and as a professional.

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

The program taught me specific techniques, such as how to conduct user interviews, sketch, develop personas, create sitemaps, construct wireframes and build interactive prototypes. I appreciated the emphasis on implementing these techniques using an iterative, user-centered design process. I learned how to think strategically about ways in which UX fits within a product lifecycle as well as techniques for adopting specific practices.

Additionally, the program’s course structure covered a wide range of topics, including information architecture, usability, user research, interaction design, knowledge organization systems and content strategy. Having knowledge in each of these functional areas provided me with the tools to become a well-rounded designer.

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

Whether you are interested in beginning a new career or are already in the field and would like to advance your skill set, the program provides a foundation for developing new techniques. You will learn a wide range of skills that translate across UX sub-disciplines and industries.

Additionally, Kent State’s online program is different from other programs in that it focuses entirely on UX design instruction with courses led by industry leaders, professionals and academics. Students have opportunities to work side by side with thought leaders, develop mentorship opportunities and build professional networks.

Finally, Kent State’s online format affords students flexibility and convenience. This flexibility helps students complete their degree while working and allows for self-paced learning.

What Project From Your Program Are You Most Proud of?

I am most proud of the online portfolio that I built as a culmination of my two years in the program. My portfolio is a constant reminder of everything that I was able to accomplish during my time as a master’s student. It allows me to showcase the specific skills, deliverables and methodologies that I learned in each course. Professionally, I am able to use my portfolio to tell my story as a designer to current and future employers.

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

As a first-generation college student, it was always important for me to continue my education beyond my undergraduate career. Once I discovered the UX program at Kent State, I knew that I’d finally found a program that would allow me to accomplish my professional and personal goals.

Having a master’s degree continues to provide new opportunities that may not have been possible without one. I am grateful for my time as a student at Kent State and for having an opportunity to earn an advanced degree.

Want to hear more about Kent State’s UXD program? Read what alumna Felesia M. has to say.

About to join our UX design program? Check out tips for future UXD students.

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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.