Monday, August 29, 2016



What is your background, what are your interests in HCI?  

My name is Desarae Veit. This is my second semester of graduate school at Iowa State. I'm a Senior UI/UX designer (user interface/user experience). I've been working in UI/UX for over 10 years. My first degree is an associate in science and my bachelors is in art and design with a minor in military science. My goal is to graduate with a PhD in human computer interaction. My hope is that I will gain practical experience that may be applied to my current role to advance my career.

I would like to learn more about analysis, predictive analytics, multivariate testing, and how to apply cognitive psychology to improving software development (I am specifically interested more in web design than VR).

Contact Information

Question 1

Hey Desarae,

Sounds like you're really proficient with UI/UX.  You mentioned that you're doing this program (and eventually a PhD) to advance your career but I don't see that you've mentioned the career?  Are you working right now somewhere where you can use your UI/UX experience?
Also, I think your military science minor with an art and design major is fascinating!  Who does that?!  Haha.  Those are pretty opposite ends of the spectrum in my book but a very neat combination.  What caused you to choose those?
Yes, I have an extensive background in UI/UX but there is always room to grow. To answer your question regarding my career, similar to you, I work at a leading IT contractor for defense, intelligence, civilian government & private business. Most of my resume is available onLinkedin and a pretty thorough bio is on my personal website I also have a portfolio at
I wont make you go there though, to give you a brief overview... I received my first degree two weeks before I graduated from high school. It has an emphasis in aviation technology, marine biology, and radio television broadcasting. When I was 17 I joined the military and wanted to be a fighter pilot (I've flown since I was 16), that didn't happen. I'd be happy to tell you the longer version and my decision making process over coffee or a phone call someday. After high school, I immediately went to ISU to get a bachelors. I signed up for Aerospace Engineering, but quickly switched to the College of Design (another interesting story for another day). The minor in military science was from taking all the courses of ROTC for Air Force and Army. I was also the Army TA for multiple years. After graduation, I worked for startups, ad agencies, started my own business, learned a lot, failed often, and have landed in the corporate world.
In the future, I would like to work at a large, preferably government related, think tank. Ideally, I would like to help solve real world issues for other countries, our country, the UN, or even work with fellow scientists to revolutionize the future of technology by inventing things we've not even thought up yet. I'm big on goals and planning so I keep track of my five year plan and have considered a Ph.D for a long time. In fact, my original plan was to complete my Ph.D when I was much younger but after 2 degrees completed a little too quickly I was burnt out and left school to earn money and try to pay off my student loans.  So, a few years ago I determined I needed a doctorate to get into the position I would like approximately five years from now. I'm not sure that the skills are drastically different from ones I currently have but I'm sure the credentials from a great program, like ISU, will definitely help.
I also intend to do the Harvard Data Science Certificate sometime in the next two years. That should help fill in a few gaps I have and enhance my resume. Plus, I would love to teach part time in the distant future (more like 10-15 years).
At some point, I may also need to get an MBA. Last year, I took a few trainings for a PMP (program management). These will come in handy if I choose to do some of the third world country or UN work, but I'm sure any position, including the think tank would like someone who is organized and better understands budgets and process planning. 
I probably didn't make those positions sound as interesting as they really are, but take my word for it- I wish I was doing them now.  
As for my immediate future, I'm just hoping for a 4.0 and trying to learn French on the side.
Wow.  You're incredibly high-speed!  I hope you find time to sleep somewhere in there.  What an accomplished background and to do so much so young is impressive.  I can tell you have a love of life just from reading these few discussion posts.

So did you ever commission in the Army after all that ROTC training?  I'm not sure what a TA is (to me that stands for Tuition Assistance).  

Very cool that you have so many amazing goals.  I can see that you are making yourself as valuable as possible.

I've never considered joining a think tank and I guess I don't even know what their purpose is.  We have think tanks in the contracting word for process improvement and short/long term strategy but that's usually driven by monetization goals so I can't imagine what it would look like on the national and international scale, but I bet it's complex and fascinating.

I'm very much looking forward to learning more about you and hearing some of those stories you alluded to.  You did a great job to making it sound very exciting without giving away the best parts.

Question 2

Hi Desarae,
Thank you for sharing.  Having a bachelor's in art and design with a minor in military science sounds like an interesting mix.  I also have a bachelor's in Art.
Designing websites with the knowledge of cognitive psychology seems like a great, marketable career path to take.
I look forward to working with you.
Thank you for the hello. I look forward to getting to know a fellow artist.
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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.

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