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Marissa Harley

GBDA Alumni, 2017

Marissa HarleySocial Media and Website Administrator, In Line K9's

GBDA introduced Marissa to User Experience for the first time, and gave her numerous opportunities throughout her undergraduate career. 

Why did you choose the GBDA program?

I chose the GBDA program because I yearned for a business and arts education that would equip me with a range of unique skills and experiences, as well as prepare me to be employable upon graduation. Additionally, the GBDA program presented me with numerous opportunities to expand my horizons and step out of my comfort zone. GBDA encouraged me to complete a study abroad term in the Netherlands, partner with industry leaders like Christie Digital and Sapient Nitro, participate in UX and Design Camps, heed the advice of UW Alumni, and become a part of a unique community in Stratford, Ontario.

Give a short description of what your position entails.

As the Social Media and Website Administrator for In Line K9's, I support a small business owner in the Waterloo Region with their digital marketing needs. I plan, produce, and publish marketing content to fit the needs of In Line K9's clients.

Who was your GBDA internship employer?

Sun Life Financial

What was your GBDA internship position?

Digital Content Coordinator

How did your internship experience help you enter the workforce?

Sun Life Financial, and in particular the Digital Channels Team in Waterloo, were a crucial stepping stone in my journey to entering the professional workforce. My internship experience was more than I could have anticipated. I encountered mentors from many areas of expertise and was often challenged to take on new projects, which could sometimes be intimidating. My co-workers respected and treated me like another member of the team, and often presented me with opportunities to learn and grow. By the end of my internship, the tables had turned and I became the master who was teaching my team new tricks. My internship allowed me to apply my newly acquired skills and knowledge to real-world scenarios, in addition to presenting me with a realistic and positive view of the workforce.

Which GBDA class helped you the most in pursuing your career goals and why?

GBDA 103, User Experience Design, was where I first discovered UX Design and its unlimited power to change the world. In our very first class, we learned that a UX Designer is a superhero who creates solutions for complex design problems. They are constantly saving the world, one horrible design at a time. It was in that first class when I finally knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

My instructor, Hira Javed, was an excellent mentor and role model to our class. She often challenged us to look for UX problems in our daily activities and propose innovative solutions. GBDA 103 pushed me to delve deeper into problems, ask the right questions, dream up wild solutions, and pursue my goal of becoming a UX Designer. Although I'm not there yet, I work every day to get one step closer. I'm constantly striving to bring UX Design into each and every facet of my life so that the whole world may experience good design.

What’s the most important skill that you learned in GBDA that has been essential to your career?

GBDA taught me how to collaborate with people I wouldn't normally gravitate to or 'gel with' and bring about a positive solution. 

Visit Marissa's portfolio

University of Waterloo

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