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12 Nov

UXD Spotlight: Alesha Arp

User experience design (UXD) is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the United States, according to Business Insider. It is a discipline that combines a number of factors that impact our daily lives, whether we realize it or not.

UXD factors into almost everything we do, especially in the world of digital. From the websites that people visit to read news and watch videos, to the ecommerce sites that are used to make online purchases, UXD plays a key role in making these places on the web intuitive and, of course, user friendly. The Kent State University online UXD program can help prepare you to make an impact in a business field that is gaining plenty of interest and expanding rapidly.

Alesha Arp

Meet Alesha Arp, a UX researcher at DealerSocket, a software company specializing in providing technology solutions for the automotive industry. Alesha is a Kent State UXD alumna nicknamed “The Machine” by her professors and classmates because she completed the program in just 16 months, which is unprecedented:

Hear From Alesha:

"I was actually introduced to the Kent State online UXD program by my husband. He was on a flight for a business trip and struck up a conversation with someone was already enrolled and taking classes. At the time I was working full time as a recruiter, but because of the diverse skills that I’d acquired from years as a working professional, he thought UXD would be something I might really be able to shine in.

"I checked out the program and decided to enroll as a guest student and take one class not only to see if I liked UXD, but also to find out if I could handle online graduate work while also being a wife, a mother and all of the things that come with that. I took Dr. Marcia Lei Zeng’s Knowledge Organization and Representation course, and I was absolutely hooked.

"I didn’t find online learning to be difficult because I was somewhat familiar with it. I hadn’t explored taking college-level courses on the Internet, but I knew they were out there. In looking at Kent State more in-depth, I saw that it was a well-respected university.

"Throughout my career, I’ve earned many licenses and certifications through online learning. These classes weren’t affiliated in any way with a college or university, but they did help me become more comfortable with the online UXD program at Kent State. What I liked most was that I was able to work around my schedule and other priorities that I had at the time.

"Being a wife and a mother are two full-time jobs within themselves. Add a career, and free time isn’t something that you have a whole lot of. But I firmly believe that you get out of something what you put into it. Once I enrolled at Kent State, I was committed to doing the very best that I could, completing the program and earning my degree.

"During my 16 months in the program, I discovered that my professors were all practitioners, and the challenges that we were being given in class were practical, not theoretical. When I graduated, I walked out of Kent State with real world experience; ready to hit the ground running from the day I got my degree.

"After completing the program, I knew my strengths and weaknesses in user experience design, and I also learned the importance of collaborating with others and working together to churn out strong products. That’s what the Kent State UXD program gave me."