Raissa Talehata, who just graduated from CPS with a Master of Professional Studies in Digital Media in 2022, remembers giving a presentation to her classmates in Australia during her junior year of high school about food waste in Solo, Java, Indonesia. She did not know then how researching food waste problems would become a permanent fixture in her own life. The damaging 2015 wildfires in Australia and her shock and dismay at the huge portions served at Boston restaurants were things that deeply motivated her interest in food waste. These experiences, coupled with her education, eventually led her to develop an app prototype that enabled consumers to manage their food inventory and reduce waste.
Raissa initially attended the University of Melbourne, Australia, for a bachelor of commerce degree in accounting and finance. She then received her first master’s degree at the Hult International School of Business in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Intersectionality of Business, Communications, Design, and Global Social Issues
For today’s consumers, Raissa realized she needed to expand her skill set beyond business and finance and focus on emerging technologies, user experiences, and interactive design. She found what she needed in the College of Professional Studies graduate digital media program. She said that, “My faculty mentors Cynthia Barron, Tania Schlatter, Carl Zangerl, and Edward Powers, made huge impacts.”
In 2020, Raissa was planning on doing a co-op in the summer, however, that experiential learning experience had to be postponed because of the pandemic. Instead, she learned of other experiential learning opportunities: one being the creation of a virtual public relations (PR) agency called Husky Communications overseen by faculty member Ed Powers. That summer, Raissa and other students developed a digital product and website for the virtual PR firm. Their work included interviewing stakeholders, developing a brand, conducting user research, creating digital content, and designing solutions. She also worked on website designs for Inspire & Influence, a blog for Northeastern’s communication, digital media, and human resources professionals; and for NU Media, an innovative platform to showcase student stories, innovations, discoveries, and achievements with internal and external audiences.
Benefits of Experiential Learning
Experiential learning gave Raissa immediate work skills and the confidence to define and identify business problems, develop creative solutions, and solve complex challenges. These projects helped her land her current job as a UX Designer at a local design firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“Being a part of the Husky team was a stepping stone for me, as it not only sharpened my technical skills but also developed my soft-skills that could be easily transferable to all different types of businesses – it gave me the competitive edge,” said Raissa.
She also won two awards during her graduate studies: the Northeastern Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Experiential Learning and the CPS Experiential Learning XN Excellence Award.
Raissa has many titles in her current work. She is a web developer, a user experience (UX) designer, and a climate designer, the last is defined as a person who devotes her creative talents to working on the climate crisis.