Born in Chicago and raised in the ‘burbs, Nicole Sciackitano is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of city life. After a stint in New York, Nicole decided there’s nothing better than our sweet home Chicago. She has had quite the interesting career path, which ultimately led her to us, and we must say that Fuzzy Math is happy to have her. Without further ado, here’s a peek into Nicole’s past, present, and future [well, future goals].
What is the degree you’re seeking in grad school?
NS: I am working through the master’s degree program in Human-Computer Interaction at Depaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media.
What did you study during your undergrad that led you to pursue an internship/job with Fuzzy Math?
NS: I came to the field of Human-Computer Interaction with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After undergrad, I was on track to go to law school. Since the fourth grade, I dreamed of practicing intellectual property law and advocating for the rights of artists, musicians, designers, software developers, etc. Through the lens of both a creator and a consumer of creative works, I saw intellectual property law as a means for good as it seeks to strike the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest so as to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish. While working as a legal assistant at firms in New York and here in Chicago, I realized that practicing law wasn’t for me. However, during those post-grad years, I discovered I am most passionate about advocating for people and finding solutions to problems that have the ability to positively impact people’s lives. Long interested in the fields of technology and design, a friend recommended that I look into DePaul’s HCI graduate program. After having done my research about the program, everything came into focus and I had an epiphany – I can put my energy towards advocating for people’s needs and leverage creativity to come up with solutions that ensure those needs are met. I hit the ground running when I began my studies in 2012 and I have since found my passion – user experience design.
How were you introduced to FM when you applied for your internship, and now that you are employed by FM, are you enjoying it so far?
NS: I heard about Fuzzy Math through a classmate this past summer. She and I were discussing our post-grad “dream job,” and she mentioned working for Fuzzy Math. Naturally, after that conversation I did a bit of Internet stalking and perused Fuzzy Math’s awesome website and blog. Needless to say, I was very impressed by FM’s portfolio – Fuzzy Math was on my radar since then. Fast-forward a month later, while I was interning at Gorilla Group, I received a rather serendipitous email from Fuzzy Math Co-founder Mark Baldino. Mark reached out to me to see if I would be interested in talking to him about prospective job opportunities at FM. Without hesitation, I jumped on the opportunity to meet with Mark, Ben, and the FM team. During my interview, it was immediately evident that everyone at Fuzzy Math seemed to love what they do – FM’s passion and excitement about UX design was intoxicating. After my interview, I remember walking to the bus stop with a buzz – feeling as if I had just came from a dream date with Cillian Murphy. In short, I knew with 100% certainty that I wanted to get a good thing going with Fuzzy Math.
What are you most looking forward to doing/learning at Fuzzy Math that you will apply to your studies or future work?
NS: I am most compelled by projects that are driven by a true human need and that have the ability to positively impact people’s lives. While interning at Fuzzy Math, I hope to conduct primary research and usability testing with real users and put my energies toward projects with a philanthropic bent. Additionally, thus far, I have approached most projects I have worked on through the lens of an HCI student. Before coming to Fuzzy Math, I ached for a mentor who could aid me in the transition from an HCI student to that of a UX professional. While interning at Fuzzy Math, I am most looking forward to working alongside the talented folks here and absorbing as much of their wisdom as I can.
What do you most enjoy filling up your free time with?
NS: My greatest pastimes are discovering new music and going to shows. Chicago is home to a really sick music scene and a lot of great bands tour here. I love going to shows in this city – whether at a historic music hall or a neighborhood DIY venue, there’s always a sense of mutual respect and communion among Chicago audiences – none of the pretension one might encounter in Austin, New York, or London. Also, I came across a sewing machine this year, so I’ve been busying myself with all kinds of sewing projects. I especially enjoy repurposing old pieces of clothing (I recently tried my hand at this rookiemag.com tutorial). When I am not sewing anything I can get my hands on, I love making dioramas, cross-stitching, and reading about real encounters with the paranormal – the.truth.is.out.there (ask me about growing up in a haunted house sometime).
In your opinion, what is the absolute best part about working in UX Design?
NS: I believe that technology’s most noble purpose is to support and improve the lives of people. As a UX designer, I think of myself as sort of an empathetic urban planner of the new frontier – make it better than when you found it.
What thrills me about UX design is that I can put my energy towards advocating for people’s needs and leveraging creativity to identify and to understand what those needs are regarding technology, and to advocate for solutions that ensure those needs are met.
What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
NS: First, I am looking forward to completing my master’s degree this spring (2015). After graduating I want to continue to learn and grow with the ever-evolving user-centered design field. I hope to find myself in a position where I can plant roots and create a solid foundation for a long and prosperous UX career.
Describe the FM office atmosphere in two words.
NS: Very chill