Faces of UMSI: Sierre Wolfkostin
With “Hail to the Victors” ringing in her ears, BSI Sierre Wolfkostin grew up two blocks from the U-M football stadium.
Originally an LSA student, Sierre says she “must’ve taken classes at each major school” before deciding to dual-major at the Ross School of Business and the School of Information.
After taking SI 106: Programs, Information and People, she was hooked. “We got to delve into the back end of Twitter, take apart their database, find what people had been tweeting and analyze the sort of words they were using. I never knew that was possible to do with Twitter, and I’d been using that app for years.”
Sierre is pursuing UX design at UMSI, and business administration at Ross. In 2016, she co-founded Gravity Real Estate Group, a high-tech real estate firm based in Ann Arbor, MI. Gravity takes a modern approach to real estate; using smart technology and good design to simplify the experience of buying and selling homes. The company quickly scaled to over $8 million in annual sales. From creating client materials to drafting the website, everything Sierre learned at UMSI applies to her business. “Design matters in everything we do.”
When she’s not focusing on her studies or the real estate agency, Sierre works as a UX designer for Domino’s Pizza. There, she leads the design of Domino’s storefront technology with apps that help team members take orders, make pizzas and deliver them to customers. Some days this involves traveling for user interviews, sketching ideas, or preparing to make fully interactive prototypes. Sierre’s goal is to create intuitive workflows and pleasant experiences for store employees.
“[In the past] tech was mostly based on function and utility… now there’s this whole new field that I think UMSI does a great job of teaching students about, and it centers on creating something that’s actually enjoyable and fun to use—something that makes you feel good about using technology.” Sierre suggests that the purpose of technology is to make life simpler and that, at its best, tech allows users to better explore the world around them.
So far, her experience at the School of Information has been enlightening. “It was neat to see the whole world kind of open up… and realize, hey, you can access that information, and you can actually make these apps, and you can design something great yourself. It’s not out of reach; it’s something you can do.”
Sierre’s ideal job would involve a diverse variety of tasks, co-workers, settings, and a strong sense of community. “I need to know that I’m around people that are truly supportive and kind, and just genuinely curious about the world around them. And that’s something I found at the School of Information… I’d like to have something like that in my future workplace.”
She hopes to one day organize a community of like-minded, motivated people centered around a common goal. Inspired by the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin, Sierre thinks that when people work together, they achieve great things. Sierre plans to continue working at Domino’s Pizza and Gravity Real Estate Group while she completes her BSI degree.