Career advice for many paths
A 2023 Executive-in-Residence shared her story – with all its twists and turns – with students considering their own futures.
Executive-in-Residence Emily Eagle’06 landed in a dream job before circumstance led to a new path, and a new dream career. Choosing one career path and sticking to it works for some people. Others find success in a more serendipitous route.
In an event entitled Career Exploration with a UX Designer, Emily shared the twists and turns that led her from Beloit College to where she is today. Hosted in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB), the event featured an intimate crowd of students, who were joined by faculty, staff, and friends of the college – and pizza.
Emily’s lively presentation told a story of luck, openness to opportunity, hard work, and also acknowledged her own privilege. After graduating from Beloit College with a degree in International Relations, she completed a language fellowship in Bangladesh, did an unpaid internship editing environmental reports, worked in an Indian restaurant, taught art to 9th graders, scheduled visitors to the Seattle Art Museum, and enrolled in a radio documentary program. These experiences led her to land her dream job as a radio documentarian, a job she held for a couple years before the program was cut.
Faced with this external disruption, Emily considered new opportunities, and decided to pursue a design career. A nearby community college had a design program that fit her interests, and introduced her to the field of user-experience design. Since then, Emily’s career as a user-experience designer has flourished: building tools for employees at a major clothing retailer, Nordstrom; designing tools for truckers at Convoy, a start-up with ambitions to revolutionize the trucking industry; and delivering a personalized musical experience for users of Pandora/SiriusXM.
Now a respected and experienced user-experience designer in her field, Emily observed that in retrospect the very first exposure to user experience design she had was a Comparative Religious Ethics class at Beloit College, taught by Professor Natalie Gummer. “The course, which wouldn’t be taught at any design college, was completely instrumental in helping me understand other people and their perspectives, and how my own perspectives fit into my understanding of them.”
Emily said that the field of user-experience design played to her strengths, including analysis and writing, skills she developed at Beloit. “I’m not the best illustrator in the world. But I don’t have to be. Design isn’t just about how things look, though people often think that. It’s also about writing. Writing makes things clear in visual systems.”
The career advice Emily shared throughout her presentation applies to the varied career aspirations of Beloit College students. Emily pointed to specific experiences at Beloit College, such as organizing a 48-hour bookmaking festival, that just seemed fun at the time, but then turned out to be valuable in landing an early career job.
My Le’25, a student from Vietnam, left the session inspired to “grasp every chance to access the available resources that Beloit College offers.” Moreover, My’s experiences with Emily have affirmed the power of networking. She says, “[I plan to] maintain and value every lifelong connection formed and strengthened through Beloit.”