UX Day 2023

UX Day 2023 

This full-day professional development conference is jam-packed with interactive sessions built to help students get familiar with the field of UX and build the skills necessary to enter the field. 


Program + Events 


New to UX?

We've got you covered with sessions that introduce you to UX and opportunities to pursue in the field. 


Beyond the basics?

Learn from alums and other practitioners and researchers in the field as they share content around more advanced topics and case studies from their work.

More Information

Date: March 25 2023
Location: Siebel Center for Design, 1208 S. 4th Street, Champaign, IL 61820
8:30 - 10:00AM | Check In, Breakfast, & UX Poster Session 
10:00AM - 12:00PM | Morning Breakout Sessions 
12:00 - 1:00PM | Lunch 
1:00 - 3:00PM | Afternoon Breakout Sessions
3:00 - 4:00PM | Group “Ask Me Anything” sessions 
4:00 - 6:00PM | Networking Reception (hors d'oeuvres) 
Throughout the day, we are also offering Individual "Ask Me Anything" sessions, which are 1:1 meetings with students over 30 minutes to provide portfolio review and career guidance.

This year, we’re offering two attendee tracks for breakout sessions:


  1. Track 1: UX Newbies For students that are brand new to UX, interested in the field but not sure what the landscape, roles, and necessary skills are. Topics in this track will be more introductory.
  2. Track 2: Advanced UX Topics For students with some background knowledge/experience of UX who are already developing skills and their portfolio. These students want to advance their knowledge and prepare to enter the field.                

Registration is now FULL for UX Day 2023! Please join the waitlist above.

Newbie Track Sessions



User Experience, Explained: Landscape, Roles, and Skills (SCD 1000)

Discover the diverse roles and skills that make up the design field, and learn how they intersect and overlap. Whether you know what you want or are simply curious, you’ll gain a fresh perspective on what it means to be a “designer” in today’s job market.

Presenter: Jacob Singleton, Accenture 

What I Wish I Knew Before Working (SCD 1002)

In this session Alyssa Auw, Athena Lai, and Annabelle Cheng will be talking about their experiences transitioning from university to corporation. Specifically, the things they wish they could’ve prepared for or at least were aware of before starting work at a large company! From navigating company politics, to applicable skills, to adapting to the new environment you’ll be working in, the hope of this session is to give you insight to things that university won’t exactly teach you before working full-time. 

Presenters: Alyssa Auw, Annabelle Cheng, Athena Lai



Intro to Design Research: Understanding Human Needs (SCD 1000)

Learn how to ask smarter questions that help you make things better for people. We’ll explore how to gather and create insights from human needs, then use this information to inform design decisions.

Presenter: Jacob Singleton, Accenture Song 


Designing for Science: The UIX & VA Group at NCSA (SCD 1002)

The UIX & VA Group at NCSA specializes in designing web apps that support scientific research, discovery and communication. We are comfortable designing with data, imagining visualizations and creating specialized components that support the user's journey through our applications. We will introduce our group, our philosophy of design and talk through some case studies of our work.

Presenters: Lisa Gatzke, Leigh Fu, Jessica Saw, Fangyu Zhou



Networking for UX Internships (SCD 1000)

Internships are a valuable way to gain experience and build your professional network as a college student. In this presentation, we’ll cover insider tips for landing internships, including how to research and target companies, prepare for interviews, and follow up after applying. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to find the internship that’s right for you.

Presenter: Brandon Dohman, UIUC 

Figma Skill-based Session (SCD 1002)

Figma is a free design and prototyping tool available in your web browser that helps you bring ideas to life. In this session you will learn the basics of why and when to use Figma throughout the design process: use Figjam to capture your ideas and think through problems with your teammates, leverage Community features to jumpstart your work, and create beautiful mock-ups and prototypes to get feedback from potential customers.

Presenter: Andrew Haglund, John Deere



Portfolio Building with Notion (SCD 1000/1002)

Learn how to create a UX portfolio using Notion! We will cover how to set up your portfolio, personalize the look and feel, and add content. We’ll go through the different parts of a portfolio (landing page, case studies, about page, etc.) and how to create one to best showcase yourself and your work to recruiters and hiring managers.

Presenters: Bryan Ge, Riya Gupta, Ridhi Chingakham - Notion UIUC 

Advanced Track Sessions



Small Changes = Big Wins: How a Collection of Small UX Enhancements Lead to Big Outcomes (STARLIGHT CAFE)

How Southwest set up a small, cross functional Agile team and set it loose on our digital channels to “make it better”. Showcasing this team’s collection of iterative enhancements, and why the freedom to fail and fail fast is paramount to getting your best ideas out the door. 

Presenter: Andrew Harvell & Ashley Schroeder, Southwest Airlines 


Sketching for User Experience (10:00 - 11:50AM - SCD 0060)

Jason Schwartz and Joseph Meersman are the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Industrial Design Program graduates and have had divergent career trajectories. One thing they have in common is User Experience. Jason and Joseph have spent decades honing their craft, conducting research, building organizations, speaking at conferences, and educating designers. Jason and Joseph will run an engaging, fast-paced workshop emphasizing learning by doing and reacting to change. Attendees will walk away with an understanding of how rapid ideation enables creative problem-solving to deliver business value.

Presenters: Joe Meersman, Intapp and Jason Schwartz, Bright Bright Great



Engaging Design in Human-Computer Interaction Research (STARLIGHT CAFE)

In this talk, I will share my journey from product design to human computer interaction research, and the connections between these domains.  My research investigates “creativity support tools,” software designed to enhance human creativity in domains such as creative writing, interface design, programming, and physical computing.  Through a selection of specific projects, we will see how design intertwines with a variety of interdisciplinary methods to shape our understanding of technology and visions of its future.

Presenter: Sarah Sterman, Computer Science - UIUC 


Embracing the Business Side  (SCD 0060)

This session will teach you how having an understanding of business can lead to more opportunities and being more persuasive.

Presenter: Amaury Saulsberry, ODP Corporation

Case Study: Designing Career Navigation, for Everyone (STARLIGHT CAFE)

Find out how Accenture created a career navigation app that helps job seekers from non-traditional backgrounds identify their skills and find jobs they love. We'll discuss the challenges we faced, the solutions we developed, and the impact this project has on society.

Presenter: Jacob Singleton, Accenture



ID vs UX: Identity Crisis (STARLIGHT CAFE)

This session will discuss living as an industrial designer in a software world. Brian will discuss his views on the “real life” pros and cons of ID vs UIUX, the differences in process, how to make the transition, and justifying hardware with software. 

Presenter: Brian Kennedy, Motorola


Address to Impress: how to communicate with developers, stakeholders, and leaders as a UX professional (SCD 0060)

As a student you typically work with like-minded people: professors who teach you and peers who learn alongside you. You speak the same language. However, the workforce isn’t necessarily like that. You have different knowledge bases and different priorities. In this session I’ll share my experience on how to bridge that gap and be successful in your first job. 

Presenter: Zoë Kaler, Zartico


Presenter's Biography

Jacob Singleton

Jacob reimagines and launches new businesses and services at Accenture Song. Specializing in design research and growth marketing, he is relentless in inspiring clients and colleagues to be bold and move quickly. He studied Economics and Informatics at the University of Illinois and is a certified scuba diver and amateur chef in his free time. 

Annabelle Cheng

Annabelle Cheng graduated from UIUC in May 2022 with a BFA in Industrial Design, but is currently working as a UI/UX Designer. Although she is currently between gigs, she has previously been at SCD, Cargill, and Zoom. As a young designer, she hopes to be an UI/UX designer that focuses on UX research. She loves researching various user experiences and understanding how good research creates a streamlined product. When not designing (or researching), you can find her enjoying photography, building mechanical keyboards, sipping coffee, practicing digital art, and journaling.

Jessica Saw

I bring the clinical and research lens to the projects we work on. I work closely with our designers to develop a product that accurately reflects the cultural contexts and workflows of our users in the healthcare field. I’m also working on communicating the role and impact of design to science and healthcare (because the user interface of clinical software drives me nuts!).

Leigh Fu

As a human centered user experience designer, my job is to simplify complex information into accessible and innovative digital experiences. I believe in the power of empathy. So I enjoy the process of using design research methodologies to discover users’ unmet needs and explore new possibilities to solve their problems. Healthcare and advanced technologies such as AI, VR and AR are design domains I am passionate about.

Jason Schwartz

Jason Schwartz founded Bright Bright Great in 2008, a UX and brand agency with a mission of creating all-inclusive and usable digital experiences, where he currently acts as Creative Director. He graduated from University of Illinois, BFA in Industrial Design in 2001 and University of Kansas, MFA in Industrial Design in 2003 completing the thesis “Design Education and Awareness in Elementary Education.”

Ridhi Chingakham

Ridhi is a senior studying Industrial Design but aims to create both physical and digital products. She first created her portfolio using Adobe Portfolio for a website and Adobe Illustrator to make a physical portfolio. Seeking for a more permanent solution and a way to merge both the look of her PDF portfolio and website, she used Notion to create a cyber-physical space to show her work.

Brian Kennedy

Brian moved to Asia after graduating from the UIUC industrial design program in 2014. His career started with UX work in Singapore, but he quickly moved back into ID for mobile phones. With experience at companies like TCL, Lenovo, and Motorola, he has been on the frontier of consumer electronics hardware development in China. Recently, he decided to get more involved with Motorola’s software team, transferring from the Shanghai studio to work with the user experience design team in Chicago.

Riya Gupta

Riya is a senior studying Computer Science & Linguistics. Riya initially coded her portfolio site from scratch, but then switched it over to Notion because of how quickly she can make changes to it.

Athena Lai

Athena Lai graduated from UIUC in May 2022 with a BFA in Industrial Design and a focus on UI/UX Design. During her studies, she’s worked at SCD,  Ameren, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Instant Brands. She is currently based in Atlanta working at Workday as a UX Designer. In her professional journey, she’s passionate about creating experiences that are not only visually appealing, but also intuitive and user-friendly. She’s curious about AI & ML and its impact on the design industry. Outside of work, she enjoys painting & jewelry making, listening to psychology podcasts, and hiking.

Alyssa Auw

Alyssa Auw is a UX Designer at Cargill exploring digital solutions in the food industry. Her experiences in international e-commerce, health, education, and energy are driven by her passion for crafting delight through design. She graduated with a BFA in Industrial Design in May 2021 and has previously worked with Herman Miller, Adobe, HackIllinois, and Samsung. Outside of design, she enjoys videography, dancing, and drawing fantastical foods.

Andrew Haglund

Andrew Haglund is a UX design lead at John Deere where he creates solutions to help agriculture and construction customers manage their operation. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Industrial Design and transitioned to UX where he has designed for startups, large companies, and his own consulting business. Andrew lives in Urbana, IL, with his wife, Nicole, and their dog, Mylo, and enjoys playing the piano, video games, and occasionally building furniture.

Andrew Harvell

Andrew Harvell is currently Manager of Digital Product at Southwest Airlines, helping transform the digital customer experience. A proud Gies College of Business graduate at the University of Illinois (Class of ’15), over the past 8+ years he’s built, led and worked on multi-disciplinary teams focused on the development, production and management of radically innovative products and experiences within the digital ecosystem at companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Motorola Solutions and the Hornblower Group. A Texas native, Andrew enjoys waking up at early hours to watch Formula 1 races, playing golf at courses around the country, traveling to new cities and fly fishing. 

Sarah Sterman

Sarah Sterman is a Research Assistant Professor in Computer Science at UIUC.  Her research seeks to understand creative process and build novel computational creativity support tools to enhance work across domains including writing, CS education, and design. She applies a computational lens to creativity research, drawing on technical skills from computer science and design in combination with other disciplines, including the humanities, to expand the communities, values, and ways of working that our software tools support. She received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS in Computer Science and a BS in Product Design from Stanford University. 

Bryan Ge

Bryan is a junior studying Information Sciences and has been pursuing UX design since his freshman year. He initially coded his portfolio website based on a YouTube tutorial, but has switched to Notion because of how quick and easy it is to make updates.

Lisa Gatzke

Design is a solution to a problem—I think the amazing designer Charles Eames said that. I use design to help software solve problems for its users as efficiently and delightfully as possible. I work with researchers, developers and prospective users to discover the constraints and requirements and design to support those things. I’m always learning and I appreciate the amazing people I work with who make it all happen!

Fangyu Zhou

I advocate for the end user’s benefits, investigating what they need. I use what I learn to design web app user experiences that satisfy all stakeholders of the project (user, client, design and development). I’m also interested in conducting research in the design domain and applying ideas to the projects I’m currently working on. These include design methodologies, as well as design topics like Design of AI Products and Computer Supported Cooperative Work.

Ashley Schroeder

Ashley Schroeder is a CX Architect and Strategist with over 15+ years’ experience with big travel brands like Travelocity and Southwest Airlines. Her passion is solving Customer problems and building approachable, easy-to-use, and occasionally joyful, end-to-end digital customer experiences. In her free time, she loves to illustrate, paint, and work with wild clay, sourced right here in North Texas.

Joe Meersman

Joe Meersman is the Sr. Director of Design at Intapp and an Adjunct Professor at UT Austin. Joe has been a Designer, Researcher and Manager across his 20+ year career. He has led teams of multi-disciplinary designers to deliver experiences for Lawyers, Investment Bankers, Data Scientists, Data Analysts, Insurance Agents, Actuaries, Publishers, First Responders, Engineers, Developers, Mechanics, and Doctors. Joe has worked at Herman Miller, Motorola, Razorfish, and was a founding Principal of IBM Design. 

Amaury Saulsberry

Amaury has been in product and design for about 7 years now, getting his start as an entrepreneur at Illinois. Since then, he’s been deeply involved in bringing empathy and a business mind to startups from fintech to family safety. Today, he’s at the forefront of ux and strategy in the B2B enterprise world as a Senior UX Designer.

Zoë Kaler

Zoë's been a storyteller since her debut tale, "Why Cats Have Pointed Ears" in fourth grade. Her passion for stories led her to journalism (BSJ Illinois, '16), and her elaborate Excel sheets to information science (MSIM Illinois '18). She began to combine narrative with technology, found UX and never looked back. She recently started as a Jr. Product Designer at Zartico, home to the world's first Destination Operating System, where she continues to use data and technology to tell stories. She lives in Chicago with her cat Huck and frequents both the yoga and pottery studio.

Brandon Dohman

Brandon Dohman is an accomplished global product executive with 16+ years of expertise in product management, innovation, and strategy. Known for leading high-performing teams and delivering customer-focused solutions that drive significant revenue growth, Brandon is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Illinois, fostering hands-on design thinking skills in students. His experience spans across various product and engineering teams, where he has been instrumental in promoting customer-centric development and refining product management processes.