Elena's Story

Creator of Converge

Heyo, I'm Elena Haskins!

I wanted to put a face behind all of this madness. You can learn about how Converge first got started here. But I wanted to introduce myself and share my post-grad journey with you.

My “day job” is a Product & UX designer. I currently freelance, run my own UX studio, Anele, and co-founded a software development studio.

My “day job” is a Product & UX designer. I currently freelance, run my own UX studio, Anele, and co-founded a software development studio.

(TLDR: Wait, what's my job? I design, research, and test how apps, websites, and programs are created. I design the user's experience when they're using a certain solution. I don’t code, but I design how an app works, what it looks like, and how it can solve people’s problems. Curious how to get started with UX as well? (Check out my guide here)

How did my life after college go?

After graduating from Ithaca College with a BS in Cinema and Photography and minors in Communication, Management, and Design; and the Honors Program, I stayed the Summer in Ithaca, NY and worked part-time for my professor to save money and relax. I didn’t jump immediately into intense job searching because I wanted a break.

I moved to New York City in August 2018 without an apartment or job lined up.

Exploring the city with JoAnn and Yasmeen (Left to Right)

I couch-surfed in a frat house and my good friend Matt’s sofa, eating Ramen and eggs, and living out of a suitcase.

Within a month,  I became a proud Brooklyn renter and I got hired as a full-time graphic designer at PEI Media, a private equity conference and editorial company, which I found through an alumni connection.

I grew up in a town that had more cows than people, and where Amish buggies were the norm. My central New York graduating high school had 38 students, so NYC provided quite the switch. I was very fortunate to be moving at the same time as some friends from college, so I had a bubble of friends and a roommate waiting for me.

Sitting on the stoop of my first apartment with one of my best friends, JoAnn

Career switching from graphic design to UX Design

After about 2 years, I realized that graphic design wasn't for me. When I started to transition to UX Design, I took night classes, freelanced, interned, and volunteered on nights, lunch breaks, and weekends, since I had a full-time job already.

I applied to a competitive UX mentorship program, Hexagon, and got in - working with the best mentor Alina; attended 50+ networking and creative events, went to several coffee dates, listened to hours of podcasts, read articles up the wazoo, and led volunteer projects.

User research findings organization from my certification class

I knew what I wanted, but also recognized it was going to take a lot to transition to a career that I had no experience in yet.

For those of you that are interested in getting into UX design, I don't want to romanticize it. It takes ALOT of time, effort, and emotional energy to get what you want. I'm also not glorifying working nights and weekends, just being transparent about what my experience was.

Many of the resources in this guide are geared more toward full-time work but can be applied in other situations as well. Since I've become a UX designer, most of my projects have been either contract or freelance. That's my preferred way to work so I have the flexibility to work on a variety of projects and create my own schedule. I'll be adding freelance tips in the next release.

A few of my favorite clients:

A few of my favorite moments from my life as a recent grad

There's alot of stressors and responsibility that come with navigating life as a young adult for the first time...but lots of amazing parts. I want to give you something to look forward to.

I joined a weekly board game meetup called "Brew n' Boards." We played games at local breweries! Community interest groups are a great way to meet new people.
Some friends and I ran in the Susan B. Komen 5k.
I volunteered at the Awwwards UX conference and got to see top design speakers from around the world.
Got free tickets to a Broadway show to enjoy with my coworker friends.
Started pottery classes to learn how to throw on the wheel.
My friend Taulant took me to my first baseball game, which happened to be box seats at the Yankees.
Got all dressed up for the LMCC Gala to support the local arts.
Went to my favorite professional development community, Ladies Get Paid. Heard keynote speaker (shown above): Megan Twohey, NYTimes award-winning investigative journalist that broke the story about H. Weinstein.
I co-led the organization of company summer party. This was the first time I had planned a rooftop corporate party.



The Patient, Community


Pad See Ew, Buffalo Burgers, Peanut butter banana smoothies


Deep Work by Cal Newport

Favorite things I'm doing for fun

Pottery, rock climbing, taking German and Spanish classes

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