The Experience Architecture Outstanding Senior Award normally is presented to only one student each year who shows excellence in the program. However, this year two seniors were equally qualified to earn the award. The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) have selected Sam Bloch and Rebecca Meyer to receive this award in recognition of their performance as students and aspiring professionals.
Bloch has graduated this month with a B.A. in Experience Architecture (XA) and a minor in Musical Theatre.
“It means a lot to me to be a co-recipient of this award,” he said. “I have so much admiration for Rebecca, so to share this honor with her is truly inspiring.”
When he first came to MSU, Bloch was unsure what he wanted to study, but he eventually found where he belonged in the College of Arts & Letters and the XA program.
“I struggled with college as a freshman,” Bloch admitted, “but once I stumbled into CAL and the XA program, I immediately noticed how welcoming and supportive the community was.”
During his time at MSU, Bloch served as co-chairman of the MSU Acapella Council, President of Spartan Speech, and worked as the Business Manager for the Spartan Dischords. He also earned the Bronze Award for the MSU Student Life’s Leader of the Year Award in late April.
Bloch was an IT Support and Leadership Intern with Quicken Loans in Detroit, where he saw his skills increase exponentially. “I was responsible for using human-centered approaches for IT engineering, which gave my work a layer of professionalism and intelligence that earned me meetings with company executives,” he said.
“It means a lot to me to be a co-recipient of this award. I have so much admiration for Rebecca, so to share this honor with her is truly inspiring.”Sam Bloch
Bloch also worked as a web developer for the CUBE at MSU, where his academic and professional skills came together. “This work really enhanced my educational experience and portfolio and allowed me to network with the fantastic people of the College of Arts & Letters and WRAC.”
Bloch’s plans after graduation have not been determined yet.
“I had planned to work at a big tech firm in Silicon Valley come graduation, but my opportunity there is currently in limbo,” he said. “Now I am looking into graduate school to study Human-Computer Interaction.”
Meyer has graduated this month with a B.A. in Experience Architecture and a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability.
“My goal this year was to see how far I could push my bounds for creativity and systems thinking, so to me, earning this award validates the success of that goal,” Meyer said. “I hope this is an indication to the professional world that I love this field and the work that I get to do.”
Meyer is thankful for the support she has received from the XA program and the MSU College of Arts & Letters.
“I have always felt heard and valued in every XA class,” she said. “The program has played a big role in pushing me to pursue a lot of opportunities that have come my way.”
Since 2018, Meyer has worked as a Consultant for the MSU Writing Center and at the MSU Sailing Center. She also has been a member of the Spartan Sailing Team since 2016, serving two years on the executive board.
In June 2018, Meyer did a study away, called Accessibility in the Tech Industry, in Silicon Valley, where she visited companies such as Facebook, Google, and Adobe to learn about accessibility in user experience design. After her study away, Meyer earned a spot in the iOS Design Lab, a collaboration between Apple and MSU, where she worked with a team to develop an app called “Get Home Safe.”
“I have always felt heard and valued in every XA class. The program has played a big role in pushing me to pursue a lot of opportunities that have come my way.”Rebecca Meyer
“All of these experiences have been stepping stones that have helped me develop a design philosophy that I truly believe in,” she said. “They have also helped me to understand how my fields of study can work together, which gives me confidence as I enter the professional world.”
As she graduates, Meyer tries looking beyond the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to her future as an XA professional.
“I’m really interested in the cross-section of user experience and interior space that everyone around the world is getting a crash course in,” she said. “It will be interesting to see what kind of job market for that emerges after the COVID-19 crisis.”