KSU became home for interactive design graduate
KENNESAW, Ga. (May 8, 2020) — For thousands of Kennesaw State students each semester, graduation represents a defining moment. It is an opportunity to reflect on their entire educational journey - the mentors they found, the friendships they made and the opportunities they seized. In recognition of that, we are spotlighting students who are completing their final semester at KSU. Muhammad Bilal, who is earning a degree in interactive design with a minor in technical communication, shares in his own words what made KSU the perfect fit.
My journey at Kennesaw State has been quite an adventure, and it is coming to a memorable end. I am an international student coming from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. I was looking to study abroad and chose KSU upon recommendation from my sister who lived in Georgia. Having family nearby, especially for the first few semesters, was helpful as I was transitioning to living in the U.S.
I joined Kennesaw State in spring of 2016 and right after my orientation got involved with the International Student Association, where I met people from around the world who had come to KSU just like I had. I worked on their executive board as the publicity and website coordinator and went on to win the Sudden Impact Award at the inaugural award ceremony held by Student Affairs. The highlight of my time at KSU would be my involvement with Outdoor Adventures as a trip leader. I got to try and teach different outdoor sports such as rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking and more, while meeting people who were very welcoming and passionate about what they did.
Academically, I started off as a mechanical engineering student and had quite a shaky start. I started exploring different programs offered at KSU and switched to the interactive design program within my freshman year. The variety of classes offered within the program helped me find my niche and I knew I would do well in the program. This is also where I met Sarah Weldon, who acted as my mentor for professional development, and my academic advisor, Donna McPherson. Both played a significant role helping me guide through my academics and career.
With the help of Ms. Sarah, I explored internships for fall of 2019 and accepted an internship with SITA, a Swiss company working in the information technology sector for the air transport industry. As an intern, I helped them design and build interface for an internal communication portal, which I launched shortly before my internship ended in December 2019. My supervisor appreciated my work and asked me to reach out upon graduation to explore opportunities with the company. The internship kicked off my career and helped me become more confident in my skills.
Most of my senior classes focused on professional development, and I decided to get a head start working with Ms. Sarah and Michael Lahey, one of my professors. In February of 2020, I started exploring jobs upon graduation and my job hunt came to a quick end when I was offered a part-time position, which transitions into a full-time upon my graduation, with Brunnerworks. They are a marketing agency based in Pittsburgh with a secondary location in Atlanta. I am currently working with them as a UX (user experience) specialist, helping design and test interfaces for their clients. I was beyond excited when I was offered the position and have been enjoying working with a very fun and professional team.
As nice as all this sounds, I had to overcome quite a few challenges to reach where I currently am. The unexpected death of my father, who was in a country 7,000 miles away, was one of the most difficult. My professors were very understanding that I had to leave in the middle of the 2019 spring semester and helped me catch up upon my return. Campus resources like Counseling and Psychological Services helped me overcome a lot of the anxiety and stress, while helping me connect with other resources on campus.
There are a lot of people at KSU who have influenced me over the years and helped me accomplish my goals. I’m a proud Owl looking forward to graduating in May and walking the stage, hopefully sometime later this year.
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.