Brenda Noland ’10 knew what she wanted to do with her life before she even knew the name of her future career. She is now a senior interaction designer at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City and passionate about the growing field of web communication.
Brenda was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, and came to the U.S. in 2006 for college. Originally, Brenda planned to take advanced placement courses at Central High School, where her aunt taught. She quickly realized that these high school level classes were not challenging enough for her and enrolled in classes at Drury University. By the time graduation day rolled around, she earned a double major in Design Arts and Advertising & Public Relations as well as a minor in Global Studies.
“Drury was a great place because of its global focus. I felt like I was surrounded by people who cared about the rest of the world in a space and an environment where people typically don’t. The people and professors were very globally minded.”
Brenda moved back to Mexico for a year after graduating from Drury, where she worked as an independent user experience designer for Agave Lab. A user experience designer focuses on creating an engaging product that improves users’ interactions with a brand and a product. After meeting some American expats, Brenda decided to go back to the U.S. to work as a user experience intern at Razorfish in San Francisco. Five months later Brenda accepted a job at Cerner and began taking graduate classes through DePaul University. Cerner is a global organization that strives to bring innovative technologies to the healthcare system.
“My biggest accomplishment is going where I need to go in order to pursue my passion and keep interested in my career field, digging deeper into all there is to know and expanding the horizons.”
Brenda’s passion for information architecture and user experience design motivates her to challenge herself and deepen her knowledge. “For me, it’s about pursuing what I’m passionate about, and that has been very much this career field.”
Each day as an interaction designer is different. Much of Brenda’s day is dedicated to meetings, interviews, design projects and shadowing doctors in the Emergency Room. According to Brenda, software is complex, and no one person can get it right.
“You depend on your team and your team depends on you.”
Although user experience is one of Brenda’s strongest passions, she also has other interests. “Keeping life interesting is a priority, whether it’s personally or professionally.” The year 2016 will be almost a decade being in the U.S. for Brenda, and the U.S. has truly changed her life. Brenda met her husband Alex at Drury. The two married in 2012 and a week later Brenda moved to San Francisco for her internship at Razorfish. Brenda loves taking long walks with her husband and going to the theatre. She also enjoys knitting socks in her free time.
Brenda recommends that all students try a class outside of their major department.
“Try something that will expand your skill set. Often times, I think it’s about putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. I think some of my greatest accomplishments have been putting myself outside of my comfort zone.”
Students can prepare for a career in user experience design by completing Drury’s Web Communication and Design minor.
Profile written by junior Kathryn Wilson