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Three UMSI students on why they love UXD and why they transferred to U-M

Thursday, 11/03/2022

National Transfer Student Week kicked off October 17, 2022.  At the University of Michigan School of Information, transfer students were given an opportunity to celebrate their success at an appreciation lunch. 

“Transfer students are an integral part of our UMSI community,” says LeAnna Level, recruitment and student success manager at UMSI. “Because these students are coming from colleges and universities outside of UM, they are bringing a host of new perspectives and experiences. Our transfer students are also contributing to helping make UMSI a more diverse and inclusive school.”

New transfer students enter the Bachelor of Science in Information (BSI) program from other colleges, and have the opportunity to attend U-M their last two years of school. 

The BSI program is an upper level bachelor’s degree that allows students to choose between two paths: information analysis and user experience design. Graduates of this program earn jobs at the best companies and organizations in the country, with 94% of graduates employed in their field of choice, and an average starting salary of $80,000.

We talked with three students to find out what motivated them to make the jump from community college to U-M, and how they found their way to pursuing a degree in information. 

Zochil stands on the diag among colorful fall trees.
Zochil Moreno-Martinez, who transferred from a community college in California.

Zochil Moreno-Martinez

Track: User experience design

I transferred from California. I was in community college there. I was originally a healthcare major. I got interested in information because I had an epiphany and asked myself, “Is this really what I want to do?” I started looking around and exploring options. 

I’m at this point in my life where I really want to help my family out and be able to provide for them. My partner is doing user experience design and introduced me to it. It was kind of hidden in plain sight. And I think what attracted me to it is there’s so many places you can go with it. You can do research, you can do design, you can do informatics. There’s just so many opportunities. 

I ended up completing a case study and pursuing an internship in California and then another one in Seattle. And it snowballed after that where now I’m at UMSI. It’s a little surreal, being in a completely different state. Like, I’m really here and it’s changing my life and I’m setting myself on a path where I’m going to be able to support the people I care about the most. 

What I love about UMSI so far is I really appreciate how many microwaves there are around [laughs]. I try to cook as much as possible and I feel comfortable not having to go buy food all the time. 

I think something that surprised me is how easy it was to make friends. I’m a people person, but I still had anxiety about making friends and having people to study with. And from day one our cohort was supportive and looking out for each other. I didn’t have to try too hard to make friends and everyone has been super nice. 

I think my advice for people thinking about transferring is to just go for it. Also, do the research on how to transfer in because different universities have different requirements. It’s important to know so you can decide the best route for you in your life at that point. 

Roger Barber stands among colorful trees on the diag.
Roger Barber, who transferred from Washtenaw Community College.

Roger Barber 

Track: User experience design 

I transferred from Washtenaw Community College. At that time, I had this huge mix of credits and I was shopping around for degrees to pursue. To be honest, I had no idea what I wanted to do or what a degree in information meant. When I found information I was like, ‘What the heck is this?’ But I knew my general interests included technology and I really like people, so this fits. 

I’m originally from Michigan. I moved to Ann Arbor four or five years ago for reasons unrelated to school. I’ve been in recovery for a long time and I moved here for that reason. I also wanted to go back to school and pursue a four year degree because it was something I hadn’t done. I graduated high school in 2012, then went to Northwestern Michigan College for a little bit and then called it quits for a bit. 

When I got into UMSI, it was like a dream come true. Like, holy crap. I’m in the big Block M school, you know? Except for my sister, I’ll be the first person on my dad’s side of the family to graduate college. And my family is really excited because they’ve been U-M fans their whole lives, but no one made it through. 

My experience so far has been amazing. I’m a very anxious person, but I felt supported and I feel like all my questions were answered and everybody was really patient with me. It didn’t feel like I was taking a plunge and the transition was smooth. 

Socially, a huge fear of mine coming in as a transfer student was like ‘Am I going to fit in? Am I going to be alone? Will I have people to talk to?” And they did a phenomenal job of connecting us at the beginning of the semester. We had two orientations, and I can’t tell you much better it made everything moving forward because everywhere I went there were at least 15 people I recognized. It was just really easy to be comfortable. 

Us transfer students, I think a lot of us come from a diversity of backgrounds and have different stories. We have people who are taking care of their families, people who had long, varied careers and are coming back to finish school, people who just have a lot of different experiences. 

My advice for students is if you’re thinking about transferring, do it. This is the best decision I’ve made in a very, very long time. 

 

Alex Brand 

Track: User experience design

Alex Brand sits near large windows indoors.
Alex Brand, who transferred from Washtenaw Community College.

I was at Washtenaw Community College before coming to UMSI. I was pursuing an associate degree in web development. Since coming to UMSI, it’s definitely been a learning curve going from community college to a university, but I’m enjoying it. 

What interested me in user experience design is I really like design and I like technology. I studied illustration at College for Creative Studies in Detroit and when I was looking for something additional to pursue, UX felt like a good balance between design and technology. 

At first, I thought I would never get into UMSI, but my advisor kept pushing me and pushing me to apply. When I got in, I was super excited. My classmates and I have created an amazing support system for each other, where all the transfer students are hanging out together and working together. 

My advice for someone thinking about applying is definitely apply. If you rest on your fears, that’s a recipe for regret. I feel like I really would have regretted it if I didn't try to come here. 

 

RELATED

Learn more information about the Bachelor of Science in Information program and how to apply. 

Attend the UMSI Community College Summer Institute, a program for community college students looking to learn more about U-M and the BSI program.