GRADUCon 2019 - Careers in User Experience Research and Design Panel


Are you interested in applying social science research methods in an industry setting? User experience (UX) a is a growing field that regularly employs advanced degree candidates and allows them to use their qualitative research methods to solve business problems. Whether designing wayfinding in buildings, or interfaces for app or analyzing consumer market trends, UX researchers need to understand and meet the needs of diverse clients, and their insights are critical to the development and ultimate success of a product or service. Researchers in these fields have backgrounds in social sciences, hard sciences, and the humanities, depending on the specific field, and the diversity of our panelists reflects the diversity of places where graduate students and postdocs can look for rewarding work.


David Chen, UX Researcher, Bazaarvoice (PhD Anthropology 2017)

I am an anthropologist-turned UX researcher, who spent the past decade exploring how “human conditions” (borrowing philosopher Hannah Arendt’s term) are reconfigured by emerging digital technologies and vice versa. As a UX researcher at Bazaarvoice, the worldwide leader in the ratings and reviews business, I utilize a wide range of UXR techniques to fuel product ideation and design improvement. Working in an agile development environment, I provide fast user-centric feedback to Product and Engineering teams. My research generates insights that directly impact Bazaarvoice’s $500M business, which powers most of the ecommerce websites in North America and EU.

Karen Trimberger Brady, Market & User Research Manager, Walgreens (MA Social Sciences 2009)

Currently, Karen is a market research professional at Walgreens, the largest retail drug store chain in the US. She has a proven track record over the past 19 years for managing clients, identifying trend, insights and providing analysis to Fortune 100 clients in cross section of sectors, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, healthcare and foodservice.  Her primary focus is on consumer research from an omni channel perspective.

Whitney McKedy, Founder and Experience Designer, Traceable Change (MA Social Sciences 2011)

Whitney has built a UX practice around passion for stretching the boundaries of UX by engaging innovation and developing custom products and approaches that answer difficult and challenging business questions across a variety of industries. Prior to her time in UX research and design, she studied human behavior and motivations through social psychology, cognitive psychology, and anthropology. Ever since then, she has enjoyed continuing to learn and shape the way humans interact with the many components of their environment.

Xavier Hills, UX Researcher, Facebook (AB Political Science 2008)

Xavier is a UX Researcher on Facebook’s app navigation team. He conducts qualitative and quantitative research to understand how cultural and generational differences impact usability and comprehension within the Facebook app. Prior to being a UX Researcher, Xavier was an English teacher, computer technician, and Program Manager.


Patrick Jagoda, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, The University of Chicago (PhD Duke University 2010)

Broadly speaking, I work in the fields of new media studies and twentieth and twenty-first century American literature and culture. Within these areas, my teaching and research focus on digital games, electronic literature, virtual worlds, television, cinema, the novel, and media theory.