Friday, April 29, 2016

A Day in the Life - Part 5

Part 4 of our Day in the Life series features MSI Mayank Khanna
(Copied with permission from Facebook)

Hello everyone,
My name is Mayank and I am a second year student specializing in HCI & Social computing. I am an international student from India and did my undergrad in engineering in Bangalore. I worked with Infosys for around three years before I landed in the amazing town of Ann Arbor.
Currently, in addition to being a student, I am an officer with SOCHI (Student Organization of Computer Human Interaction) and a GSRA with Prof. Fontichiaro on the Making in Michigan Libraries initiative and have had the opportunity to participate in several activities/initiatives outside the classroom.

I will be posting throughout the day for all of you to experience UMSI through my eyes. Feel free to comment on any of the posts with questions and I will be happy to answer them
Go Blue!

Post 1/4
My day started with quickly grabbing a coffee at Espresso Royale and then heading to fourth floor, where most faculty and PhD students are located.
After a quick checkin with Prof. Fontichiaro about our project, I landed in the lounge space on 4th floor to catch up on some work and emails. Work started with me finalizing work for SOCHI officer elections 
After that, I was back to work on the summer road-trip as part of the Making in Michigan Libraries initiative. Basically, I am co-planning a summer road trip across the entire state of Michigan to eight specific towns to promote Maker culture in the state. The intent is to create hubs within Libraries across the state that allows people in these communities to build their own makerspaces with the help of the library.
After this, I have to rush to Scarlett Middle school to meet the awesome kids there. More details coming soon.
Stay Tuned!

Post 2/4
Before I could leave for the Scarlett Middle school, I dropped by the International center to pickup my OPT documents.

The international center at the university has the most helpful staff. You can go to them anytime you have doubts regarding your VISA, travel or work related questions.
If you are an international student, you will most likely drop by this place at least four times during your time at UMSI.
Now leaving to meet the kids.

Post 3/4
And we just wrapped up at Scarlett Middle School where we run an after-school STEAM program for kids in the grade 6-8. The lovely Sandy Ng and Prakruthi Shetty help me run this program at Scarlett 
More details about the fun we have:

We work with kids to build STEM related projects and practice different kind of crafts to give them an outside classroom learning experience. While today we taught kids how to etch glass, in the past we have taught them to build their own LED flashlights, make 3-d prints using the Makerbot and practice coding through online tools like the Hour of code.
If any of you would like to volunteer for this after-school program during your time at UMSI, feel free to contact Prof. Fontichiaro and you can choose a site based on your schedule. It can be the most fun activity you do in your entire week.

Post 4/4
After the fun at Scarlett, I was back to North Quad with the amazing Amber Lovett to record a webinar for the U.S. Department of Education

This webinar is part of a series of lectures planned by the department for their CTE Makeover Challenge. The challenge aims at promoting Makerspaces within high-school education in the country. Prof. Fontichiaro is one of the many esteemed judges for this amazing challenge.
Interestingly, the Makeover challenge was recently announced by President Obama during his keynote at SXSW. This announcement also included the approval of the "much-in-debate" STEM extension opportunity for International students.
With this I am posting my last update for today. It was really fun sharing my daily UMSI experiences with all of you. Wish all of you Good Luck as you transition into Grad school.
Feel free to post any questions you have and I will respond at the earliest.

A Day in the Life - Part 4

Part 4 of our Day in the Life series features MSI Deirdre Hirschtritt
(Copied with permission from Facebook)


Hi there! My name is Deirdre and I’m a first year student in the tailored specialization with a particular interest in academic libraries. I got my BS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go badgers!) in Gender & Women’s Studies and History, with a minor in Jewish Studies. Between undergrad and UMSI, I lived in Detroit for three years teaching elementary school full time and then working at a few different non-profits.
Now at U-M, in addition to taking classes, I spend about 20 hours/week at the library offering reference services, teaching undergraduate “one-shot” courses and working on various projects. I also serve as an officer for the Information Alliance for Community Development (IACD) as well as the student chapter of the American Library Association at UMSI. They’re both great!
I’m going to post a few times today about what I’m up to. Feel free to post comments and/or ask any questions on any of my updates. You can also email me at

Post 1/4
During lunch today, one of the student organizations I'm involved with -- Information Alliance for Community Development (IACD) -- invited the Visualization Librarian, Justin Joque, from MLibrary to come talk to us about data visualization principles and tools. Incidentally, Justin happens to be a UMSI grad (class of 2010)!
He introduced us to some basic tools for visualization and we talked about how to make the process and product of visualization transparent for readers. It also turns out that there are a lot of open access resources we can still use once we graduate.

I think this was a great jump off conversation about data visualization. I plan on following up with Justin to get some tips about how to apply these techniques to data I'm working with, or maybe I'll sign up for a workshop. MLibrary offers regular workshops about a variety tools, both for visualization and for a ton of other resources (check 'em out: Teaching and Technology Collaborative: Off to work now...

Post 2/4
One project I’m working on at the library has me sitting in this pretty room for 2 hours/week. It’s the Reference Room in the Hatcher Graduate Library. I’m weeding a selection of books, checking for currency and wear & tear, among other things. It’s wild to be able to hold books that are over 100 years old in my hands so often!
My mentor for this project has been a librarian for over 20 years and our meetings are some of the best parts of my week. I learn a ton from just listening to him describe his workflow and his decision-making process. I know the skills and knowledge I’m gaining now will be incredibly helpful when I’m applying for jobs and when I actually get one of those jobs (*fingers crossed*)!
When I’m not working on this project, I often come to this room to read for class or to work on a paper. It’s super quiet! Even in the dead of winter, the light in there is always stunning and it feels very academic to sit among the books and study.

Part 3/4
I just left a meeting with a classmate where we were working on a poster that we'll be presenting at a conference in May. That's going well! Hooray!

Now I'm meeting with my 501 group in NorthQuad (pictured here). We're starting to work on our affinity wall, infamous at UMSI. We'll be putting together data gathered in several interviews with our client and trying to make meaning of a whole bunch of sticky notes...this should be interesting! Off to class...

Part 4/4
My day ended with attendance at one of our required courses -- SI 501 (pro tip: classes at UMSI are usually referred to as their course number, not the title of the class). In post 3, I showed you a picture of my group for this class and here's a picture of something we're working on. If you ever wondered what 300 sticky notes with little pieces of paper looks like, wonder no longer.

Tomorrow will look totally different than today, which is no surprise. Every day is different for me, and different than any other student in the program. If you want to know about anything that I've mentioned today, feel free to reach out. I should also mention that I live in a graduate student co-op, so if you want to know about housing and co-ops, I can answer some questions about that, too. Hope you enjoy visiting days this weekend, if you're coming to town!