Graphic & Interactive Design Alumna Works as a Product Designer for Educational Technology Company Instructure
Allison Pittler graduated from the Graphic and Interactive Design Program at Seton Hill University in 2018. A lifelong lover of art, Allison chose Seton Hill to hone her skills and expand her opportunities for a career in design. After attending graduate school at Kent State, she decided she wanted to pursue a career that made a difference. Allison now works for educational technology company Instructure, where she designs and improves products to help teachers and students succeed in an online environment. Here, she answers some questions about her Seton Hill experience and career in design.
What made you want to major in graphic & interactive design, and why did you choose Seton Hill to earn your bachelor’s degree?
I've always had a passion for the arts, and as time progressed, the emergence of digital art fascinated me. I knew graphic design was my calling. After a few years of attending an out-of-state university, I had the opportunity to begin my career in design. Anxious to do so, I jumped at the chance. It was a remote opportunity, so I returned to my hometown of Greensburg. I wanted to further my education, and Seton Hill was my first choice because I was impressed with the design program.
"If it weren't for Seton Hill, I never would have learned about user experience design and probably wouldn't have pursued a graduate degree."
What was the path like from Seton Hill to grad school to finding a job in the graphic design field?
I graduated from Seton Hill in the spring of 2018 and started grad school at Kent State the same month. During grad school, I worked for Dick's Sporting Goods as a contract designer. I then moved on to a Pittsburgh-based agency, C-leveled, as a senior digital designer. I graduated with my master’s in User Experience Design in the spring of 2020. I studied user experience design because of my desire to "design for the greater good." I have always wanted to use my design skillset to make a difference. My goal was to find a career that fulfilled that dream, and I found that in Instructure the November after I graduated with my master’s.
What exactly is Instructure?
Instructure is an educational technology company. We work on various products under the Instructure umbrella, but my focus is on collaborative tools within Canvas, the learning management system.
What is your day-to-day job like as a product designer for Canvas?
I have the pleasure of talking with teachers and students about their online teaching and learning experiences. I then collaborate closely with engineers, product managers, and other designers to make data-driven improvements, which I design, prototype, and test to ensure their success.
How did your education at Seton Hill prepare you for your current position?
The courses at Seton Hill gave me a solid background in graphic design, web design, and interaction design—all of which I use daily. If it weren't for Seton Hill, I never would have learned about user experience design and probably wouldn't have pursued a graduate degree.
What do you think is the most important thing needed to succeed in a career in graphic design?
To succeed, all designers need resilience, determination, passion, and empathy. What I have found most valuable in my current position is the ability to collaborate.