What made you decide to pursue your degree in WDOC?

I am a recent graduate from UF with a journalism degree. While I enjoy writing, I really love art. I also knew I wanted to pursue a career based online, rather than print media. Since art has been my passion since I was young, I wanted to try out design and online media. In my undergrad, I took a coding class as an elective and had so much fun–that was actually my favorite course of my entire undergraduate career. So, I knew I had to follow this passion to see where I can go.

What has been the biggest thing you have learned in your classes?

One of the biggest things I learned in my classes so far is how important it is to pay attention to the client’s needs. It can be easy to follow your own style but at the end of the day, you work for the client-you need to make them happy. Don’t be afraid to push your own comfortable boundaries and style taste to try something new. Of course, keep in mind all the design “rules” we’re learning but it’s also fun to try something new every once in a while. You might be surprised with what you come up with.

What have you learned in your classes that you have already applied to your job?

My job’s in marketing, so I haven’t had many opportunities to apply what I’ve learned in class to my career. But outside of class and work, I did create a brand identity project proposal for a local small business that was in need of some help with their online brand. Brand Identity, showed me how to present a professional yet modern proposal that would entice any client. I don’t think I would have approached this business with a proposal without the tools I learned from this course. This class made me feel confident in my abilities as a designer.

What are your career aspirations?

I originally applied for this degree because I wanted to pursue something I ignored in my undergrad: my love for art and design. I would love to work for a major organization in their online realm. I think working with the visual media department would be a great fit for me. I have a lot of experience working professionally with social media and these courses have helped me gain a better understanding of how to create a good brand through design. I think knowing what good design is can develop the look, feel and likability of a company and help build their brand.

What accomplishment are you the proudest of achieving?

In my undergrad, I was able to code an entire website from scratch. It was a lot of hard work but I remember feeling so proud when it was finished. Of course, I don’t remember my coding skills as well as I’d like to, but that feeling of accomplishment was a big motivation for me to pursue my graduate degree. Since I’ve started, I also developed and pitched a brand identity to a local business, and I’m really happy with how it came out and where I’m headed with this client!

Michelle Champalanne

Michelle Champalanne

Class of May ’18

Vero Beach, FL

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