Neil Christensen (’03, Information Systems) is putting his SUU education and experiences to great use as the User Experience Designer for outdoor retailer Backcountry.com, where he uses analytics and research to determine the best design possible for the company website.
Neil has built up a strong resume in his eight years since graduation, having worked in web development at Virgin America Airline, University of Utah Healthcare, and Salt Lake City School District. He credits his top-notch education from SUU with helping him get to where he is today, commenting, “Though I had several great professors at SUU, Rob Robertson (Assistant Professor of Information Systems) was instrumental in giving me the knowledge and encouragement to realize my potential.”
It was not just the in-class education that helped Neil achieve his success. Like many students who have the ability to work at SUU while going to school, Neil landed a job in Web Services assisting the webmaster in creating and maintaining pages for the SUU Website. “Jill Whitaker and Mark Walton in Web Services gave me the opportunity and experience necessary to be offered an excellent job for a graduating senior.”
Neil also gained significant leadership training with his involvement with the fraternity, Sigma Nu. He attributes his membership in the fraternity with rounding him out personally and providing him with professional skills that many students did not have upon graduating college.
His hard work as a student and as a web designer has not gone unnoticed. Upon his graduation from SUU, Neil was named an Alpha Affiliate by Sigma Nu, which is awarded to the top 10 graduating seniors in the U.S. and Canada based on academic, leadership, and service excellence. While at Virgin America, his redesign of virginamerica.com received the 2010 Website Excellence Award in the travel category from Online Media, Marketing and Advertising.
The service spirit instilled in him by SUU and Sigma Nu has not subsided. He has done work with the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, promoting cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and with the San Francisco Food Bank. Out of a desire to have a more personal relationship with the people he’s helping, he also recently decided to volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah as a mentor for a little brother.
“I strive to be the type of person who brings happiness, value, and delight into the lives of others,” says Neil of his personal motto. “I believe that it is our relationships with other people that make the biggest impact on our own happiness.”
Neil resides in the Salt Lake City area.