When Ryan Wiaranowski began interviewing for UX jobs after earning his master’s in emerging media design and development (EMDD), he had answers, strategies, and a portfolio at the ready. 

“I know I got my first job at Quest [Diagnostics] because I could speak about the design thinking strategies and lessons learned,” he says, referring to his UX architect job with the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. 

Ryan says his master’s in EMDD was still working for him when he moved on to become director of experience design with BioReference Laboratories in Cincinnati, Ohio, and part of the largest full-service specialty laboratory in the U.S.  

Communication Skills Required 

Ryan stands in home officeWorking with product, IT, marketing, operations, and delivery divisions at BioReference, Ryan oversees a team of seven designers. 

“Being a director now, and having to hire UX designers, the first thing I look for are communication skills,” he says, noting that the EMDD helped him develop speaking and leadership skills.  

Ryan says there is a strategy behind the program’s course work. 

“The course work is the foundation,” he says. “It provides a set of strategies and techniques required to enter the field.” 

Mentoring Designers Brings Reward  

Now, he speaks from experience when it comes to his designer team: “Being able to mentor them, develop their skills, and watch them succeed, is the most rewarding feeling I’ve had professionally.” 

Ryan joined BioReference Laboratories in 2020 when the company was becoming a national leader in COVID 19 testing solutions. 

“I have spent the last two years creating digital solutions and strategies to help the organization test as many patients as possible throughout the pandemic,” he says.  

Helps Launch Scarlet Health® 

In 2021, his team helped launch Scarlet Health®, which provides in-home laboratory appointments, including COVID-19. 

“With Scarlet, a phlebotomist will come to your home or workplace to collect the sample for the lab,” he says.  

Ryan designed and executed the creative/UX strategy for Scarlet. “I love being able to play a role in people getting care and doing so in a way that is as comfortable and convenient as possible,” he says. 

Ryan credits Ball State’s EMDD degree with providing “the ultimate experience. I could not have achieved the success I’ve had in my career without the program.”

Commends EMDD Founder Dr. Palilonis 

Ryan also commends Dr. Jennifer Palilonis, professor of multi-media journalism and founder of the EMDD program.  

“Dr. Jennifer Palilonis is a tremendous mentor. I knew when I talked with Jenn, I would always get feedback that would provide clarity—or challenge me to be better,” he says.  

Ryan contends that the EMDD provides flexibility for graduates. 

“While UX design turned out to be my career,” he says, “the methodologies and strategies the program teaches, and real-world experiences you gain, could land you a career in any profession you are passionate about.”