This local traveled the world, worked in the film industry + now graduated with her MSITD


Jen smiling with smoothie at Turbo Coffee.
Jen has traveled to many countries but decided to launch her career in the Shoals area. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Jen Awwad has worked countless hours in the film industry and lived in Baghdad and Dubai, but ultimately, she found her passion in the Shoals area completing her MSITD (Master of Instructional Design + Technology) at UNA.

Read on to learn about Jen’s incredible travels and how the instructional design industry is booming in the Huntsville area.

Traveling around the world

Jen and MSITD instructor Dr. Lindsey walking on UNA campus
Jen has traveled the world, but her life and heart is the Shoals area. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Jen graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Technical Theater, specializing in sound design, lighting and set design.

Upon graduation, she began working for a film company based in Cyprus. She mostly worked in North Africa and the Middle East, filming in Egypt, Morocco, Chad, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Djibiouti and other countries, and meeting her husband along the way.

When she returned to the States, she completed her master’s degree in ESL (English as a Second Language) education before soon realizing she wanted a more hands-on degree.

University of North Alabama

Top-notch professors at UNA

Jen collaborating with professor Dr. Lindsey for the MSITD degree at UNA
The MSITD professors at UNA like Dr. Lindsey (on the right) are hands-on and give personalized feedback. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

While working in education, Jen fell in love with instructional design.

“My first job in the educational sector was not in teaching but in designing curriculum. As I was building online classes, I realized I was doing instructional design but had no formal training in it. As soon as I realized UNA offered the MSITD, I jumped on the opportunity.”

Jen Awwad, MSITD graduate + Instructional Designer

Jen loved the curriculum and the hands-on help from UNA’s amazing MSITD professors—like Dr. Natasha Lindsey who has been a professor at the university for over 20 years.

Dr. Lindsey incidentally entered the instructional design sphere but has now become a prominent voice in the industry.

“The first time I ever taught a course, I had to develop a brand-new class from scratch and was immediately thrown into the world of instructional design. UNA’s MISTD curriculum was created with what I wish someone would’ve told me when I began my career.”

Dr. Lindsey, Associate Professor, Instructional Technology + Design, UNA

Ready to enter one of the nation’s fastest-growing career fields? Apply to UNA today for the MSITD program.

University of North Alabama

Flexible MSITD program with incredible career opportunities

Jen working on her MSITD degree at a local coffee shop
The MSITD degree is fully online, so you can work in Huntsville while furthering your education. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Web and Digital Designers are predicted to have a 23% industry growth rate in the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This trend can be attributed to the increasing need for online training materials. Check out some of the industry numbers:

  • As of June, 2023, 16% of all U.S. companies were fully remote, and 15% of all job opportunities involve remote work (Flynn, 2023; Peck 2023).
  • 80% of businesses now offer online learning and training solutions (Peck, 2023).
  • Online training and learning improve employee performance by 15-25% (Peck, 2023)
  • Corporations with comprehensive training programs earn 218% more and reap 24% higher profit margins (Chernev & Ivanoc, 2023).

As Huntsville continues to grow and attract more professionals, the need for instructional designers, corporate trainers, organizational learning development specialists and onboarding training specialists will continue to increase.

University of North Alabama

Launch your career in Huntsville today!

Dr. Lindsey and Jen smiling with UNA mascots
UNA’s personalized MSITD program can give you the skills you need to jumpstart your career in Huntsville. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Jen loved how UNA’s MISTD included personalized feedback and a project-based curriculum.

“You have a lot of freedom to choose topics pertinent to your current position. While completing the MSITD, I was able to learn more about different software and build projects that I could use in my job. Now I can show my portfolio and say, ‘hey, here’s real work that I’ve done.'”

Jen Awwad, MSITD graduate + Instructional Designer

In the words of Dr. Lindsey, if you are in “the business of educating others, value clear communication and have a keen eye,” the MISTD is for you—apply today.

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University of North Alabama

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Lacey Muenstermann
Lacey Muenstermann
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