Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Day in the Life - Part 1

Wondering what it's like to be an MSI student at UMSI? Follow our "Day in the Life" series in our prospective student Facebook group or on our blog. This series can give you insight into what it's like to be an MSI student, and what your life could look like here at UMSI as well.

Stay tuned through the spring for views into different students and snapshots of their lives at UMSI.

Take a look at our first "Day in the Life" posts.... (copied directly from Facebook, with permission of course!)

Hi everyone! My name is Lavanya, and I am a second year masters student here at SI! Besides specializing in HCI, I'm also a graduate student instructor, an officer of our school's human computer interaction club, and an avid volunteer for several of SI's projects and events. Needless to say, there are tons of opportunities outside of the classroom that help make one's experience a lot of fun smile emoticon

So, today I will be sharing moments from my day for all of you to get a taste of life here at SI! Please feel free to comment on the posts if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to answer them.

Post 1/5: Starting the morning off with my discussion section for SI 622 (Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation). Being a GSI (graduate student instructor) is a wonderful learning opportunity and helps build public speaking, organizational, and project management skills. It also tests your knowledge of the field and helps reiterate subject matter that you may have forgotten since taking the class!

(Below are some of the discussion rooms in North Quad, where the School of Information is located!)

Post 2/5: Alright, moving along. Now that class is over, it's time for some portfolio reviews! As an officer for SOCHI (student organization for computer human interaction) along with Mayank Khanna, Sidharath 'Sid' Chhatani, and Prakruthi Shetty, conducting events that help the SI community build their design and research skills is important! We often hold design jams with companies such as Amazon, GE, Facebook, and many others! These are great networking opportunities and wonderful ways to practice your design skills. This week however, SOCHI is helping with portfolio reviews. So each of us sits with one student from the SI cohort who needs help with his or her online portfolio, which is basically a personal webpage to showcase your work. Portfolios complement your resumes nicely and are important if you're looking for a job coming out of SI.

A typical study room in SI (only for masters students!!)

The beautiful North Quad.

Post 3/5: While I love assisting others, I could use some help with my work also. Time to head to the 3rd and 4th floors of North Quad where majority of the faculty and staff work! This is a great place to meet the masterminds behind the School of Information including professors, admin, and Phd students. If you have any questions about classes, this is where you'd go to meet your professors for office hours or just say hi

Taking elevators up to the 3rd and 4th floors!

Cool furniture up on the 4th floor!

Post 4/5: Next stop - Engagement Center. A recent addition to SI, this building is conveniently located above Panera and is just one block down from North Quad. Of course I stopped at Panera to get something to eat. The Engagement Center is where our career development office sits and is an excellent place to study as well as talk to our staff about internship and full-time opportunities. A lot of companies come to this building to recruit and hold information sessions. Personally, I'm here to discuss a project called ASB (alternative spring break) where students take a trip to another city and help other organizations with design, data, research, and information problems. It's a great way to network (I'm headed to DC!) and take a week off to really bond with your fellow SI-ers!

Engagement Center... This picture does not do it justice... It's huge! And awesome.

Post 5/5: Finally ended the day with an Agile project management session back in North Quad! This was a brief but very informative workshop on this methodology and is yet another great resource provided by SI to complement your work in the classroom. What's also awesome about SI events is that there is almost always free food.

Alright everyone, that's all from me! I hope you found my posts informative and helpful. Please comment on any of the posts if you have any questions and best of luck. Hope to see you at SI!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Service Engagement at UMSI

Dear Prospective Students,

This is a great time for you to be considering the opportunities that graduate school can provide and I wanted to bring to your attention a few programs that might be of interest that are part of the “Initiative for Information Impact” here at the University of Michigan School of Information:

The Global Information Engagement Program partners non-profit, research, and educational organizations in an international setting with carefully selected student teams. For 2016, GIEP will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. In early summer, the student teams will then depart to South Africa and spend six to 12 weeks implementing an information tool for groups that have high societal impact. GIEP is a curricular program at UMSI; Students will receive six credits for pre-departure activities and the in-country experience through enrollment in SI 691 through pre-enrollment in Winter 2016.

Michigan Makers uses action research and service learning to explore teaching, learning, and evidence of skills in non-classroom settings. In the 2015-2016 academic year, UMSI students are working local public schools in "maker-style" activities. Michigan Makers helps local youth engage with technology through tinkering and creating, while promoting group work and peer mentoring.

Community Impact Projects are an opportunity for interested students who wish to fine-tune their professional skills through engagement with information-related projects proposed by local community partners. Students, either as an individual or with members of their student organization, can work on projects that range from a day to an entire academic year and that create significant impact to an organization that is lacking in information-related skills, resources, or technology. Projects include organization and processing of collections, website design and users analysis, database building, and general information consultation. Projects for 2015 included digitizing film for the Ann Arbor District Library and website redesign for the non-profit, Dagbe.

Citizen Interaction Design: Student teams, formed around challenges presented by the partner organization, the City of Jackson, Michigan, work to create new information tools and services that fundamentally reimagine how citizens interact with their local governments. The project offers many opportunities for engaged learning for UMSI students.

A2DataDive is a hack-a-thon-like event in which students and data scientists partner to analyze data sets from community partners. These are both events in which students can take on significant leadership roles, or join the event the day of.

UMSI MLK Service Day is a yearly event in January where SI students, faculty and staff can volunteer at local nonprofits in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Ypsilanti. Participating organizations in 2016 included the Detroit Sound Conservancy, 826 Michigan and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Peace Corps Partnerships are two initiatives between the U.S. Peace Corps and the School of Information. The Coverdell Fellow Programs offers financial support and academic credit to those who have served in the Peace Corps prior to joining UMSI. In addition, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers use the skills they developed working abroad to complete internships in underserved U.S. communities, gaining both academic credit and valuable on-the-job experience. The Master’s International Program allows students to start their MSI, take that knowledge into the world while serving in the Peace Corps, then return to complete their degree. Participants in this program work abroad as Peace Corps volunteers for 27 months and receive language, cross-cultural, and technical training to enhance the hands-on experience they will acquire. Students will also have time to develop an international academic project while volunteering in their host country.

The School of Information cares deeply about connecting people, information and technology in order to make a difference in our communities and for the world at large. These programs and opportunities are examples of how through our curriculum and student engagement, UMSI enables its members to change the world. When talking to our students, staff and faculty please be sure to ask about these unique opportunities to engage with the community and see which programs would be most interesting for you.

Michael Gates
MSI Class of ‘17

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Elevate your passion!

At last week's UMSI career fair, a group of students (8 MSI, 2 BSI, 1 MHI) had the chance to present their passions to a group of employers.

You can view Jake's video below but be sure to check out all 10 (short) videos here.