Student Highlight: Emma Behforouz

A flight and a dream can take someone quite far, and UX Graduate Assistant, Afsaneh “Emma” Behforouz knows this all too well. In 2022, after a year of planning and pondering, Emma came to the United States from Birjand, Iran to attend Graduate School at Ball State and study Information and Communication Sciences (CICS).

“I went to Winnipeg, Canada, in the winter to make films and got experience in writing, lighting, and sound…but it still didn’t feel like enough…”

After getting her Bachelor’s in cinema with a focus in video editing back at Sooreh University of Art in Tehran, Iran, Emma decided she needed a change of scenery. She was able to work on film projects in Winnipeg, Canada, for a bit to hone her love for film, but she knew she needed to pursue something different and go somewhere with more opportunity. She never wanted to stop learning and expanding her skillset.

Dr. Mohammad Behforouz, a distinguished Chemistry Professor at Ball State and Emma’s uncle, helped guide her to Ball State in the first place. Before joining the Corps, she started as a GA in CICS from August 2022 to May 2023. She extended her CICS program by a year and was seeking another Graduate Assistantship. One day while passing by the office, she felt inclined to ask about an internship here, and the rest is history!

“The Design Team has really inspired me. They have a way with consistency. [On collaborative projects] the other teams help make sure everything is going in the right direction.”

Although CICS is more technical than filmmaking, she likes the opportunity that User Experience can bring to herself and others. Back in Iran, Emma took a course in web design and loved it because it blended creativity and design while still being technical. When Emma approaches projects, her creative side takes over regardless of how technical a project can be. She seeks inspiration and starts by making a mood board for website design projects.

One of Emma’s favorite projects is the herbarium database. On that project, she’s making an admin panel to enable easy access for others to update the website while also designing the website. This is her first time designing something instead of just doing UX research.

“I think I’m very independent, empathetic, and analytical.”

Emma’s life encapsulates the balance she preserves between creative and analytical work. At the Corps, Emma loves to research through both observation and user behavior, have brainstorming sessions, and think about projects from an analytical perspective, while in her off-hours, she enjoys taking photos, painting, and abstract sketching. 

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