User Experience (UX) Design Graduates Win First Prize at an International Hackathon

#LetsContinYU Series, UX Design

By Matthew McGrath

We’re very proud to announce that Amadea Setiabudhi, Rachelle Lamano, and Betty Chiu – graduates from our Certificate in User Experience (UX) Design – won first place in the NanoGiants International Hackathon!

Every program at the School of Continuing Studies is designed to ready our students for the challenges and opportunities of the real world. The UX program in particular combines strategic learning objectives with hands-on experience to give our students all the tools and techniques they will need in the workplace. That’s why we are thrilled that Amadea, Rachelle and Betty put their newly acquired UX skills to the test and succeeded.

They formed their group, West and East Design, in instructor Rahim Bhimani’s class. After graduating, they stayed in touch. Amadea talks about how she stumbled on to the perfect opportunity for their team to test their skills. “I found the hackathon on I was just googling random hackathons and I found this one. So, I messaged the girls and they were both on board with this.”

Rachelle and Betty both decided to jump on the project and give it their best shot. After all, the most useful learning happens on the job or in pressure situations. “UX is about learning and we made a really great team and so I thought, ‘why not?’ It’s for fun, right?” laughs Rachelle.

They scheduled times to get together and have a brainstorming session where they could throw around ideas and tackle the problem that was presented at the competition. Having just gone through courses like Fundamentals of UX Design, Research, Visual Design, Wireframing and Prototyping, they had the foundational and practical knowledge to develop their strategies for success.

While the competition was nerve-wracking and the wait for the results was even harder, team West and East Design came out on top! Rachelle says, “I told the girls that I never really won anything in my life, so I was really happy about it. And I was so proud of those two. They were really great and we made a great team.”

“This was our first project after we finished our certificate and though we couldn’t see each other, I’m sure we were all screaming and happy after we heard that we won,” adds Betty.

We were excited when we heard about the victory as well! And grateful to have played a part in the team’s accomplishment. Amadea says, “The (UX Design) program definitely played a big role in our winning. It gave us the tools that we needed to work together and to come up with the different strategies.”

The program was designed in collaboration with UX Design experts, with a focus on experiential learning. Students graduate with an impressive portfolio of their work that not only gives them confidence but also shows any hiring manager that they are ready for the job. The instructors are industry professionals, and each course builds on the last for a comprehensive learning journey.

About the courses, Amadea adds, “Especially the second course, taught by Philippe (Jean) – he taught us how to use Figma and then Alisha (Kassam), taught us the importance of research. And you can’t miss that stuff at all. And then Rahim (Bhimani) put it all together, everything that we learned. The way he structured the course – introducing us to a real-life client that had a problem that needed to be solved. That really helped us simulate a real-life experience as if you’re a UX designer in the field.” Graduates like Amadea, Rachelle and Betty are a wonderful example of what’s possible when learning meets a desire for excellence.

Our role has always been to empower students. In situations like these, our students also empower us to keep pushing the boundaries of innovation with our programs.