Is this experience right for me?

We’ve designed the Alumni Life Design Experience to help you figure out exactly what you want next from your life regardless of your age, background, or industry.​ 

The Alumni Life Design Experience will NOT be a good fit for you if: 

  • You already know exactly what you want and just need help landing a job ASAP 
  • You want 1-on-1 expert career coaching  
  • You’re not able to commit to completing the assigned work (about 5-7 hrs/wk) 
  • You’re looking for specialized career advice for a unique position 

Still not sure if the Alumni Life Design Experience is right for you? Contact us at and we will help you think it through!  

What sort of outcomes can I expect?

So long as you put in the work, you can expect to achieve the following: 

  • Develop a better understanding of yourself; strengths, skills, values, interests, and more 
  • Clearly define what you want from the next chapter of your career 
  • Identify several exciting potential career paths that you could pursue next 
  • Learn an effective process to thoughtfully design your career and pick your next move 
  • Build lasting relationships with peers who will support you through your journey 
  • Learn how to use effective career resources to help you achieve your goals 

How much time will this take? When do I need to be available? 

We’ve designed the Alumni Life Design Experience to take 5 to 7 hours of work per week including required course time and personal reflection/assignments. You’ll meet with your cohort and instructor two times each week, on Monday and Wednesday, for 90 minutes. There is an optional 30-minute open discussion following each meeting for registrants to dig deeper, reflect, ask more questions, and work with fellow alums. You will get the best results when you keep up with the suggested deadlines and attend all your weekly meetings. 

While we really want you to participate as fully as possible in the Alumni Life Design Experience, we understand that you may occasionally have a conflict. If you need to miss one of the weekly meetings, give your instructor advanced warning and make up the work later. However, if you need to miss more than one, we suggest you wait for the next cohort of the Alumni Life Design Experience. 

What do you mean by Career Design? 

Career Design is the act of intentionally crafting your career to make it fit you, whether you want to make the most of your current career path or make a bigger career change to something entirely different. Career Design is all about understanding yourself, your goals, and your options, then making a plan and taking thoughtful steps towards more fulfillment. 

The Alumni Life Design Experience curriculum is inspired by Design Thinking, this process breaks down the overwhelming challenge of “figuring out what you want next” into simple steps that thousands of people like you have used to create careers they love. 

Who is leading the experience?

Heather Braun, PhD, Assistant Director of Integrated Learning and Life Design  

Prior to joining the Life Design Team at Johns Hopkins, Heather Braun received a PhD in English at Boston College, was awarded tenure at two universities, and taught literature, writing, and experiential learning courses for over a decade. Her interest in human-centered design began at Stanford’s d. school as a research fellow, where she applied design thinking principles to tackle complex problems such as building an escape room for a tenth grade English class; investigating social isolation alongside colleagues in Palo Alto and Trinidad; and assisting doctoral students to foster supportive communities and creativity in their research. Upon returning to the University of Akron, she created and led learning experiences for populations on and off campus, from “Design Your Life” courses for underclassmen to a pilot program for incoming freshmen to design thinking workshops for local women leaders, graduate students, and Brazilian business professionals. 

Michael Gonzales, Associate Director of Integrated Learning and Life Design

Michael has been part of JHU’s Office of Integrated Learning and Life Design (ILLD) since Fall 2019, supporting students in exploring how their major may align with their industries/fields of interest through curriculum design scaffolding, teaching courses, and tailored advising. Before joining the ILLD, Michael was an administrator and faculty at Bennington College and Hampshire College respectively, Michael’s academic background is in urban and architectural theory having completed graduate coursework at University of California Berkeley and plans on completing his PhD dissertation in summer 2023. Michael has a BA in architectural studies from University of California Riverside. 

In his spare time, he loves working on his Olympic lifting form and kettlebell routines. He is thrilled to be supporting JHU alumni in exploring their life and career interests and is committed to redesigning integrated learning and design thinking in ways that take into account the diverse lives of JHU students and alumni. If Mike could tell his college-self anything, he would say to consider reframing the exploration of aspirations and challenges, not as an individualistic and isolating experience, but as one that can be meaningfully supported through a community centered approach, leaning on alumni mentoring resources as one example. 

What is your refund policy?

  • 100% refund – Prior to the start of the course. 
  • 50% refund – During the first week of the course. 
  • No refunds will be given after the first week.