Graduate Testimonials

photo of Terri Mestre
Terri Mestre
 

Year graduated:

May 2016
Current Title/Position: Instructional Designer at TIAA

Degree or Graduate Certificate:

Master of Education in Instructional Systems Technology

Concentration (School Specialist, Training and Development or Online Learning and Teaching):

Training and Development

Why did you choose the IST program at UNC Charlotte?

When I decided to pursue my IST degree, I researched several schools. UNCC was the only school that offered a 100% online degree program that was also recognized by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology for its alignment with AECT Standards.

The program was affordable, convenient, and the UNCC campus was also close enough that I could visit campus and stay close with my professors and classmates.

How has the IST program benefited you?

The IST program absolutely changed my life. At the time I decided to start the program, I was an elementary teacher looking for a career change. I had applied to several Instructional Design and Learning positions in a variety of business fields without success.

Through completing the IST program at UNCC I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge, experiences, and relationships in the field of Instructional Design. The courses provided hands-on learning experiences with an emphasis on project-based learning. As I completed the courses I was also building my portfolio.

The professors are very involved and proactive in their students’ success. Professors worked with professionals in the field to provide endless networking opportunities through local organizations and businesses. Throughout my degree program I was able to complete two paid internships with Charlotte businesses, and was offered several contracting and full-time positions upon graduation. I am now in a job that I love and have found a career that I am truly passionate about.

photo of Heather Ramsey
L. Heather Ramsey
 

Year graduated:

May 2016
Current Title/Position: Instructional Technology Specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Degree or Graduate Certificate:

Graduate Certificate in IST

Master’s Degree in IST

Concentration (School Specialist, Training and Development or Online Learning and Teaching):

School Specialist

Why did you choose the IST program at UNC Charlotte?

I chose the IST program at UNCC because the university’s College of Education is among the best in the state. Additionally, with my schedule as a full-time educator, the online, asynchronous structure of the program best fit my needs. 

How has the IST program benefited you?

My understanding of the field of instructional design and its importance in both education and corporate training has increased. Thanks to the IST program I am better able to explain the how and the why behind pedagogy to the teachers I support.

I appreciate the relationships I’ve built with other educators throughout the program. I learned a lot about the field of instructional design from the other professionals I worked with during the program, in both K-12 and secondary education as well as those in the corporate world.

photo of Lyndra Swann
Lyndra Swann
 

Year graduated:

December 2015
Current Title/Position: Regional Training Director, YMCA of Greater Charlotte

Degree or Graduate Certificate:

Master of Education in Instructional Systems Technology

Concentration (School Specialist, Training and Development or Online Learning and Teaching):

Training and Development

Why did you choose the IST program at UNC Charlotte?

The convenience of the distance education format gave me the flexibility to continue working full time and balance being a full time student. 

How has the IST program benefited you?

Completing the program has provided me with the necessary background, education and experience to be able to advance my career into areas of instructional design and development.     

photo of melanie Melanie Gildharry

Melanie Gildharry

 

Year graduated:

2015

Current Title/Position:

Instructional Technology Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools

Degree or Grad Cert:

M.Ed. Instructional Systems Technology

Concentration (School Specialist, Training and Development or Online Learning and Teaching):

School Specialist

Why did you choose the IST program at UNC Charlotte?

I originally chose this program because I was hired as a Technology Facilitator and needed to add the Computer Education endorsement onto my teaching licensure. I had already completed my Teacher Education program at UNCC and so I was familiar with the program and the department.

How has the IST program benefited you?

The coursework required of me throughout this program directly prepared me for the duties that I currently have. Before and during this program, I worked at the building level supporting teachers with technology integration as well as managing data and providing technical support. After graduating from this program, I was hired for a district-level position in a large, urban school district. My job responsibilities changed significantly from direct student and teacher support to more systems-level support and this program prepared me for this shift.

Designing courses from the instructional design aspect through the development of the course using rapid e-Learning software prepared me to work with subject matter experts to create courses that impact the whole district. These courses are for all teachers and staff across the district so my focus is now more heavily on adult learners rather than K-12 students, and this program helped me incorporate effective practices and strategies to use with adult learners.

I could continue on with individual examples of how this program benefitted me, however, I would summarize it to say that I was provided with continuous support and feedback from Dr. Martin, Dr. Wilkins and other professors throughout the program that gave me the motivation to always strive for excellence. Nearly every assignment I completed, from discussion boards to syllabus development, online course design, collaborating on projects, working with a mentor, examining the process of LMS adoption, exploring new web tools, and so much more, directly impacted my effectiveness as a professional in my current role. With every new project that arises, I find myself utilizing more of the skills and knowledge that I gained from this program to contribute in innovative ways to the improvement of my district. This is an exceptional program that I would recommend to anyone interested in pursuing a career in educational technology.