Megan Bogenschutz started her education career as a certified high school art teacher, teaching visual communication design classes, including graphic design and sculpture.
Climbing to the next rung on the ladder meant becoming a vice principal or school district administrator, which didn’t interest her. She wanted to remain in a hands-on role working directly with students while also moving up in her field after 10 years of teaching.
Seeing no other way forward, she began to consider alternative career paths. UX design seemed a great way to leverage her empathy and communication skills while working in a well-compensated, hands-on role. Now she’s a digital UX designer at Kroger Technology & Digital, leading UX design initiatives for an internal employee training portal.
I'm always trying to learn more and improve in my chosen discipline. So I researched careers that are connected with empathy and understanding user stories. That's when I came across UX design. I knew I would need guidance on the path forward, and that’s when I found Springboard.
Things have changed drastically. There are a lot of parallels between working in education and design in terms of ensuring diversity, inclusion, and access. Also, dealing with people from different backgrounds. The difference is now I work with peers versus being in charge of a classroom.
Kroger has about 1,400 designers working on their product. I’m on the business operations team and work on the internal platforms for employee education and training.
It's been wonderful. I found the role through my Springboard mentor, Elizabeth Casey. She was wonderful about passing along information about design events and opportunities. She told me about a women-only hackathon called Hacking for Humanity in San Francisco. It was my first hackathon. My team consisted of other UX design students from Springboard, and we won second place.
A few stakeholders from DBSASF were in attendance and they reached out to us. They wanted to bring our design to life. So decided to jump on board and help a few hours a week.
I learned a lot about the design process and how to work with constraints. I also learned to navigate situations involving stakeholders with different interests but want to achieve the same thing.
Absolutely. Get out there and network and see who needs help. I’ve learned that people will take any kind of help you can give–even if it’s just a handful of hours per week. If you’re worried you lack experience, volunteering is a great way to hone your skills and make connections.
I wouldn’t have been able to do anything I’ve done without the experience I gained through Springboard. You’ve got to push yourself to explore, build connections, and not be shy. Even if you are shy, fake it until you make it.
I’d spent my entire career in education, so I didn’t know how to find people outside of the industry. I met with my career coach biweekly and documented my entire job search. It helped me stay motivated through the hard times in my job search when I felt like nothing was happening.
My mentor was wonderful. Even though I’m shy and introverted, she helped me see that I’m good at networking and creating personal connections.
She told me, “Go with that. That’s going to be one of your strengths.” She helped me pinpoint my strengths and feel more confident to put myself out there more when I attended industry events.
Chatting with my mentor every week was the most beneficial to me. But when I had questions that needed immediate answers, the student groups on Slack were super useful for getting a fast response.
I attended monthly events hosted by Cincinnati's local IxDA (Interaction Design Association). There, I met people who worked at Kroger, because the main office is located in downtown.
While networking, I would say, “If you hear about an opening, let me know” or I would ask for an informational interview. Sometimes people would send me information about job opportunities. Someone in my alumni network connected me to Kroger after I reached out to him on LinkedIn, and that’s how I landed my job.
Jump in with both feet and act like you know what you're doing until you do.