Maggie Quackenbush is a senior majoring in Management Information Systems (MIS) at UConn, but the story of her college journey is a bit different from others in the major. Maggie started out as an Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) major and it wasn’t until her junior year that she switched to MIS.
She said she made the switch because she felt she was not being challenged enough academically in the HDFS program. She said she had no exact career plans in HDFS, which was another factor in her decision to change her major.
So began her search for a different career path. Maggie said she missed taking math classes so she researched different majors within the Math Department, the Business School and the Computer Science Department. Maggie said she found MIS to be the perfect combination of all of her interests.
“Once I found MIS, I decided it would be perfect for me since I could learn so many new things and I felt like it bridged the gap between my technical interests and Psychology, because I’m able to apply technology to business contexts in a way that helps people and aligns well with the way they think,” Maggie said.
She said she has always been very interested in technology. Maggie said that when she was younger she taught herself how to code HTML and that she has always loved playing video games. On top of that, Maggie said she loves to be creative with technology. She said that MIS provides her with many opportunities to use creativity, for example in the ways she approaches certain problems within technology, designing interfaces, and front-end development.
The reason Maggie is so interested in technology is because it is always changing, allowing her to constantly be challenged, she said. A career in information technology will allow her to be challenged even beyond college while simultaneously working to help people, Maggie said, which is exactly what she wants out of a career.
“Technology has such potential to help people in their everyday lives in addition to solving bigger problems that we can’t solve on our own,” Maggie said.
As a graduating senior, Maggie said she feels fully prepared to start her career due to her experience at UConn. She said that the MIS program has given her all of the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a job. Another skill that she attributes to her time at UConn is the ability to find her place and get involved in such a large environment. She said that this is a skill she is glad to have as she enters into the working world.
“In a big company, it won’t always feel like you really matter in the big picture, but my time at UConn has taught me how to make sure that I am a part of the big picture,” she said.
As for her advice to students just starting out in MIS, Maggie said to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities that MIS has to offer.
“If you’re interested in something and there isn’t a related elective offered, you should still stick with that interest and look for online open source courses or even just watch TedTalks on the subject,” Maggie said.
MIS is a great field, she said, but because it is so broad, she suggests figuring out exactly what it is within the field that you are interested in. She said that if you can narrow your focus and pursue a career with that focus in mind, it will be easier to find a job that you love after you graduate.
After graduation, Maggie hopes to begin a job that aligns with her interests and skills. She said she is primarily looking into rotational programs, where she has the option to work in a few different areas, such as cyber security, development, or data analytics.
Eventually, Maggie hopes to attend graduate school for something relating to User Experience and Interface Design for video games.
She said that her dream job would be to create video games for children with special needs to help them in some way. She said for example, she could create a virtual reality experience for Autistic children who get overwhelmed in social situations. She said her idea for the game would expose them to virtual social settings to increase their comfort and ability to deal with those situations. Another idea she mentioned was an educational video game focused on helping students who are struggling in school with specific learning needs.
“Anything that involves using technology in a way that makes people’s lives better would make me feel successful in this field,” Maggie said.