As the summer continues to fly by, it’s time for our much-anticipated Employee Spotlight blog post! This month, we shine the spotlight on Alex Brand, our exceptional UX Design Intern. Coming to us from the University of Michigan, Alex has brought a fresh perspective to our team. He’s driven by the desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives through his work and is passionate about accessibility and being a mediator between products and their users. So let’s dive in and learn more as Alex shares insights into his journey at Nickels.
Do you have any interesting hobbies or activities or accolades? Is there anything from that experience you bring to your role at Nickels?
I’m a very creative person with an artistic soul. I enjoy a lot of different hands-on activities like knitting, textile weaving, drawing and painting.
What would your perfect weekend look like?
Friday night dinner at my favorite restaurant, Detroit Street Filling Station, it’s a must-try if you’re ever in the Ann Arbor area. Saturday afternoon kayaking down the Huron River. Finished off on Sunday with brunch and movies on the couch.
What is something you are most proud of?
I make the best vegan white bean chili. Seriously, everyone should try it.
What inspired you to join or brought you to work at Nickels?
As I was finishing up my prereqs at Washtenaw Community College in Spring 2022, I applied to the Michigan Stem summer internship program that Nickels participated in. When I did my research for the interview, I immediately felt connected to the company’s socially responsible approach to credit card health. After a successful interview with Joseph, I happily accepted the internship offer. Now I’m thrilled to be invited back this Summer, and fully enjoying the opportunity to work with Nickels once again.
What is most interesting/exciting about working at a fintech like Nickels?
I get to work on projects that connect with multiple aspects of the business. As a UX designer, my primary tasks involve product work, UX recommendations, and UI design. But I also get to work on marketing, social media, and other design related projects. Additionally, the mentors I have with Nickels are respectful, open minded, and treat me like a valuable asset to the business.
What is the most exciting project or activity you’re working on now–and why?
I’ve been partnered with Nickels’ Director of Project Management to work on new designs for our Admin Console. This is probably one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever worked on with a lot of complex thought problems around what data we show, how we show it, and then how we make that data valuable to our clients. What I’ve liked most is that this project requires me to collaborate with developers to learn about design feasibility and needs requirements. I’m learning a lot this Summer.
What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?
The relationships you build are priceless.
Finally, what do you think are the most important skills interns need to have?
Humility, the ability to ask questions, and to not be afraid to give pushback. I’ve learned a lot from my Project Manager and design mentor because of my insistence on asking too many questions and making my opinion heard. It’s all about communication and reciprocity.
Stay tuned for more employee spotlights as we continue to introduce you to the amazing individuals driving innovation and making a difference at Nickels daily.