Proud to be Prodigy: Meet NicoleProdigy Careers Blog
- Prodigy Culture
Proud to be Prodigy: Meet Nicole!
Our Proud to be Prodigy series spotlights some of the talented individuals on our amazing team. Interested in joining us? Check out our open positions!
Meet Nicole Zelem, one of our first employees who recently celebrated her 10th anniversary at Prodigy. Nicole is the Director of Product Management for our Education teams, working with teams on all parts of the Education experience in both our Math and English games. This includes teams working on the actual questions themselves, how we create that content, the algorithms that determine how students progress through that content, and the information and data we have around a student's ability. She is focused on delivering the best educational experience that we can for students through our games!
When did you first start at Prodigy and what made you want to work here?
I joined Prodigy in April 2012, to create some of our very first math questions that would be in the game. I was a research assistant while completing my M.Ed for a professor that our CEOs were working with prior to joining, and got to see what they were trying to accomplish very early on. I loved (and still do!) the reach and impact that this type of learning could have on students and the ability to individualize learning using technology.
What has been your journey here at Prodigy?
My first few years at Prodigy were spent gaining a deep understanding of curricula and creating the math content that aligned with the Ontario and CCSS programs. As the team grew and our product started to gain more traction, I started getting into a PM role in Education overseeing the content, tooling, and algorithm side of the product. Over the years I have also worked with our teacher product team, parent product team, and admin product team in a PM leadership role.
What has been your most memorable moment at Prodigy in the past 10 years?
There was a classroom visit in one of the first couple of years working here where a student had created an art project that was a 3D laptop with Prodigy on the screen. She was SO excited to show it to us when we arrived, and I will never forget the smile on her face when she got to tell us what she had made. Getting to see the students' excitement anytime we go into a classroom is something you never forget!
What's your favorite part about working at Prodigy?
Aside from creating a product that our customers love, I absolutely love the team at Prodigy. There are so many incredibly smart people who are all driven by our mission and have so much energy and passion for our customers.
10 years is a long time! What keeps you motivated in your role?
Hearing feedback from our customers on the impact that we're having never gets old. When teachers or parents write in to tell us about how their student/child used to fear math and no longer does, or their student used to not even being willing to attempt math problems but now begs to stay inside for recess to play Prodigy, I am so moved and grateful for the opportunity to have such an impact. That feeling reminds me and motivates me to keep doing what I'm doing.
Which cultural value of ours speaks to you the most and why?
Growth Mindset. With a teaching background, a growth mindset has always been something that I've believed in and hoped to instill in students I taught. Having no to very little knowledge of how a technology company works to be in the role I'm in today is largely attributed to having a growth mindset and pushing myself to learn and grow. I love that this is something we encourage in all employees and that we use in our products with our customers as well.
Last question! What's one thing about you that most people don’t know?
I have read the Harry Potter series at least 5 times, and have been to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios 7 times. Can't wait to go again!