Photo of Maya Angele Pelichet
UX Designer 2, Microsoft
Co-Host, The Designers Toolkit Podcast
Computers. Each of us comes into contact with them on a daily basis, but Maya Angele Pelichet is one of few that could easily explain the intricacies of computer science and user experience design over a cup of coffee. As UX Designer 2 at Microsoft, she has been working on the company’s application Viva Connection, which helps inform, motivate, and engage employees in Microsoft Teams. Pelichet also co-hosts The Designers Toolkit, a podcast geared towards helping those who are interested in becoming user experience designers learn how to succeed in the industry.
“I love my job because UX combines so many aspects of technology, research, data, and design which allows me to be creative and design practical, useful products for people,” described Pelichet. “Being able to translate the way people think into functional products that make their lives easier is my favorite part of the job.”
Pelichet has been part of a multinational team and has traveled to collaborate with Microsoft’s Oslo and Nairobi teams.
“This was a very fulfilling experience that provided for a lot of diverse perspectives that have uniquely informed the way my team works and the product we design,” said Pelichet.
Pelichet’s computer science journey began with a course she took on a whim her sophomore year at Tulane. Surprised by how much she enjoyed the class, she joined Newcomb Institute’s Women in Technology (now Equity in Technology) student organization and would go on to become Co-President.
“Through [Women in Technology], I learned about the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference which brings together thousands of women in computing every year,” reflected Pelichet. “I attended a seminar at this conference on UX design and learned about how this career path blended design, technology, research, and data. It felt like the perfect fit for myself career-wise, so I did everything I could to learn about UX and pursue internships that would prepare myself for this role after graduating.”
In addition to her involvement in Women in Technology, Pelichet was an intern in Newcomb’s Collat Media Lab (now the Technology and Digital Humanities Lab).
“Newcomb Institute and Tulane were extremely influential in impacting my values, helping me achieve my career goals, and progressing quickly in my career,” expressed Pelichet. “The Collat Media Lab internship allowed me to develop real work for my portfolio that I was able to use in interviews to get my first job out of college at the Starbucks Corporate HQ in Seattle, WA. All in all, I attribute much of my early career success to Women in Technology and the many opportunities Newcomb Institute provided me.”
In ten years, Pelichet sees herself in a managerial position in UX design mentoring others and helping them shape their careers. She also hopes to write a children’s book about computer science.
“I personally wasn’t fully aware of what computer science was until college and I would love to provide more resources to kids than I was privy to,” said Pelichet. “That goal is a bit more far-fetched, but I think it’s always important to dream big.”