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School of Information Sciences - University of Illinois





 



iSchool experiences record enrollment

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:02:04 +0000

Enrollment at the iSchool has risen to record levels, due to unprecedented growth in the master's programs. Almost 650 applications were received for the Fall 2017 semester in the master's in library and information science (MS/LIS) and master's in information management (MS/IM) programs. Enrollment in these programs currently accounts for 686 of the School's total student enrollment of 746.   "This growth can be attributed in part to a coordinated effort by the recruitment and admissions team to boost acceptances among admitted students, including an email campaign connecting current students to admitted students," said to Moises Orozco Villicana, director of enrollment management. "Our School is poised to build off this record-setting enrollment by expanding on-campus, off-campus, and virtual recruitment efforts. We also plan to implement new and innovative ways to engage with prospective students beyond graduate school fairs." Among the new efforts implemented by the recruitment and admissions team was Admitted Student Visit Day in March. The attendees included Tom Kuipers, Sharon Han, and Vicki Pietrus, who are now first-year MS/LIS students at the iSchool. Kuipers earned his BA in history and sociology and MA in history, both from Purdue University. He chose the iSchool for its top ranking, alumni network, and funding opportunities as well as the University's proximity to his family. "My experience thus far has been great. The course list is exceptional, my classes are interesting, and my cohort is bright, eager, and very motivated to learn and participate," said Kuipers, who also is enjoying the Urbana-Champaign community. "There are lots of cool little shops, interesting events, and a wonderful variety of restaurants." He hopes to find employment in an academic library or archives and eventually work in library administration. Han graduated from Washington University in 2016 with her BA in archaeology and minors in art history and earth science. She worked as a student shelver at her university's library and held an internship with the Saint Louis Science Center, where she helped create educational programs. Those experiences influenced her decision to pursue an MS/LIS with a focus in public librarianship and youth services. "Visiting during Admitted Students Day solidified my decision because I learned about the many assistantship opportunities and also met great staff and other prospective students," said Han. "I have really enjoyed my time so far, including all the great lectures, talks, and information sessions. My classes are engaging, and it’s clear that the professors really care about their work and teaching the next generation of librarians. I am especially thankful for all the great conversations with my peers. Everyone has their own story to share, and I am excited to listen and learn." Pietrus earned a BA in English in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a classroom teacher for eight years before making the decision to become a K-12 librarian, which she is pursuing through the MS/LIS program. "I was so impressed with how organized and plentiful the graduate assistant opportunities were at the iSchool," said Pietrus, who currently is a graduate assistant at University Laboratory High School in Urbana. "No other school provided nearly the same amount of opportunities to get my degree funded. Furthermore, this program had a very real feel of community, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it." Describing her work at Uni High as "my dream come true," Pietrus also plans to complete a practicum in a public library youth services department to see if that might be a good fit as well. [...]



Alumni selected as ALA Emerging Leaders

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:34:52 +0000

Six iSchool alumni have been selected by the American Library Association (ALA) to participate in its 2018 class of Emerging Leaders.

Jessica Colbert (MS '17), Aisha Conner-Gaten (MS '13), Tracy Drake (MS '15), Hailley Fargo (MS '16), Brittany Fiedler (MS '17), and Yan Liu (MS '14) are included in this year's class of fifty individuals from across the country. This leadership development initiative provides opportunities for newer library professionals to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, observe ALA structure, and serve the profession in a leadership capacity.

The Emerging Leaders program will launch with events at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, which will be followed by six months of online learning and networking activities. At the end of the program, participants will display the results of their project planning work in a poster session at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.




Blake named 2017-2018 Centennial Scholar

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 19:43:15 +0000

Associate Professor Catherine Blake has been named the iSchool's Centennial Scholar for 2017-2018. The award is endowed by alumni and friends of the School and given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and/or professional promise in information sciences.

A leading researcher in text mining medical literature, Blake has returned from a year as a faculty fellow at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, a research and development unit of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There she worked on projects in semantic knowledge representation and medical ontology research.

Blake's earlier focus on how people synthesize evidence from literature directly informs her computational approaches to accelerate scientific discovery. She utilizes her industrial experience as a software developer, formal training in information and computer science, and more than a decade of experience in text mining scientific articles in medicine, toxicology, and epidemiology. Her work has been published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology,  the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Environmental Health Perspectives, and elsewhere. She has also published three book chapters.

Blake is co-principal investigator on a project funded by the National Science Foundation that uses next-generation risk assessment tools to explore how the culture of an organization affects the likelihood of a disaster. She recently completed a project that analyzed data reuse at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I am deeply grateful to receive this award, and the timing rounds out a wonderful year while I was on sabbatical at NIH. I am very much looking forward to integrating that experience back into the iSchool and the information science research community," said Blake, who also holds affiliate appointments in the Departments of Computer Science and Medical Information Science at Illinois.

"We are delighted to recognize Cathy's work with the Centennial Scholar award," said Dean Allen Renear. "She has been pioneering new approaches to better integrate and advance our understanding of medical research results. This is enormously important work, and we are excited about both the results so far and the prospects ahead. We are also, of course, very pleased to have her back with us!"

At the iSchool, Blake serves as associate director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship, which studies the information lifecycle in the contexts of science and scholarship. She teaches text mining, an introductory course on databases, evidence-based discovery, and foundations of socio-technical data analytics. She also designed the School's graduate specialization in Socio-technical Data Analytics (SODA), which was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and formed the basis of the data analytics track in the new MS in information management. 

Prior to joining the iSchool in 2009, Blake was an assistant professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She holds an MS and PhD in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine, and a BS and MS in computer science from the University of Wollongong, Australia.




Alumna teaches in Botswana as Fulbright Scholar

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 14:16:08 +0000

(image) Julie Edwards (MS '05) fell in love with Botswana in 2015 when she helped plan a conference there for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Reference and Information Section. As soon as her conference ended, she vowed that one day she would return. She is now back in Botswana as a Fulbright Scholar for the 2017-2018 academic year.

At the University of Botswana (UB), she is teaching two courses—Understanding the User (LIS 304/LIM 300) and Information and Society (LIS 211)—working with master's students, and collaborating with library colleagues on continuing education workshops.

"I have big classes full of wonderful students, and I enjoy working with them tremendously. In addition, all of my colleagues here have been so supportive, both professionally and personally, in helping me feel welcome and part of the community at UB," Edwards said. 

Next semester she will teach a special topics class based on her book, Transforming Libraries, Building Communities: The Community Centered Library, which she coauthored with Melissa S. Robinson and Kelley Rae Unger.

Her interest in public libraries and community engagement led Edwards to enroll in the iSchool as a Leep student in 2003.

"After I graduated with my master's degree in English literature, I was working in a small library in central Wyoming. It really hit me one day how closely librarianship was related to social justice work, and I loved that. I realized that there was so much potential to work with communities on issues that are important to them, and I wanted to be a part of that," Edwards explained.

She is making the most of her time in Botswana, both inside and outside of the classroom. She and her husband love to look for wildlife and explore the countryside. In the upcoming months, she hopes to get out and work with librarians in their communities.

According to Edwards, "I've never been busier, happier, or more fulfilled in my professional work as an academic librarian–I think that says it all!"




2017 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award given to the Kansas City Public Library

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:50:32 +0000

The Kansas City Public Library's defense of the First Amendment has earned it the 2017 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. The award is given annually by the faculty of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cosponsored by Libraries Unlimited. On May 9, 2016, the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL), in cooperation with the Truman Library Institute and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, hosted a talk by Dennis Ross, a former advisor on the Middle East to Presidents George H. W. Bush and Barack Obama and currently a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. During the question-and-answer period, library patron Jeremy Rothe-Kushel asked about U.S. support for what he called Israel's "state-sponsored terrorism." After Ross responded, Rothe-Kushel attempted to follow up and was grabbed by a private security guard, followed by an off-duty police officer, both of whom had been hired by the Jewish Community Foundation. Steve Woolfolk, KCPL's director of programming, intervened, noting that discourse is accepted and encouraged at a public event held in a public library. He was physically injured by the officers and arrested. R. Crosby Kemper III, KCPL executive director, said the private security guard was not acting on behalf of the library and had no right to remove a patron for asking a question. When the charges against Woolfolk were not dropped, KCPL went public with the incident. In September 2017, a municipal court judge found Woolfolk not guilty on all charges. Woolfolk has been lauded for his actions by the American Library Association (ALA), Urban Libraries Council, and Missouri Library Association. He was awarded the 2017 Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, established by the best-selling author and the ALA to recognize individuals who have "faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact." In addition, the KCPL received ALA’s 2017 Paul Howard Award for Courage, given biannually for “unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services.” According to nominator Kate Williams, associate professor at the iSchool, "Giving the Downs Award to the Kansas City Public Library, especially these librarians, will help educate many people nationwide and beyond as to the special roles of the public library, the police, and private security forces in a democratic society, and the boundaries we all navigate to protect free speech and intellectual freedom." A reception to honor the KCPL will take place during the Midwinter Meeting of the ALA in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, February 10, 2018, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Ellingwood Rooms A and B at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver. Libraries Unlimited provides an honorarium for the recipient and cosponsors the reception. The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award is presented annually to acknowledge individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be given in recognition of a particular action or long-term interest in, and dedication to, the cause of intellectual freedom. The award was established in 1969 by the iSchool's faculty to honor Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the School. With Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, assuming cosponsorship of the award in 2012, ABC-CLIO has been dedicated to supporting the Downs Award for more than thirty years. As a publisher committed to advancing library professional development and independent critical thought, Libraries Unlimited and the entire ABC-CLIO family are strong advocates of intellectual freedom rights and the dissemination of all idea[...]



Downie presents keynote at Rizal Library International Conference

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:53:49 +0000

Professor and Associate Dean for Research J. Stephen Downie was a keynote speaker for the 7th Rizal Library International Conference, which was held from November 16-18 at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines. The theme of the conference was "CLICK! Connecting Libraries, Information, and Community Knowledge."

Downie gave the presentation, "HathiTrust Research Center: Text mining the very big data of the HathiTrust Digital Library." HathiTrust Digital Library is a partnership of more than 100 university and public libraries, which has amassed a collection of over 15 million volumes and 5.5 billion pages. While researchers are applying data mining and text analysis techniques to reveal new knowledge buried within the collection, roughly 10 million volumes are under copyright restrictions and cannot be shared directly with researchers.

In his talk, Downie, codirector of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) introduced the set of nonconsumptive research services that HTRC is creating to make closed materials more open. These services allow the computer to analyze text without allowing the user to read or disseminate copyrighted content and include data capsules, extracted features, and the HathiTrust + Bookworm (HT+BW) tool.

Downie leads the HT+BW text analysis project, which is creating tools to visualize the evolution of term usage over time. He also is the principal investigator on the Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis + Data Capsules project, and he represents the HTRC on the Novel(TM) text mining project as well as the Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis project. All of these projects strive to provide large-scale analytic access to copyright-restricted cultural data.

In addition to his contributions to digital libraries and digital humanities research, Downie is known for helping to establish a vibrant music information retrieval research community. He is founder and first president of the International Society of Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR). He holds a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition, along with master's and doctoral degrees in library and information science, all from the University of Western Ontario.




iSchool research fellow receives LJ/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:53:09 +0000

(image) Renee Hill, senior lecturer and director of the school library specialization at the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies (CIS) and a research fellow at the iSchool, has won the 2017 LJ/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield.
 
The range of the 23 courses she leads (many of which she designed herself), her passion for teaching, her ability to create online asynchronous courses and make them come alive and feel personal to her students, and the extension of her role as an educator far beyond the classroom are only a few of the reasons why Hill was selected for this honor.

Hill has perfected online instruction in ways that engage with students more than traditional, face-to-face classroom methods. 

"Renee makes online teaching a very personal and engaging experience," said nominator Paul T. Jaeger, director of the MLIS program at Maryland. "Online courses have the real potential to be sterile or even robotic, but Renee designs online education so it is based on constant human interaction."

"It is fun to figure out how to make things real and interesting, and part of the fun for me is learning how to use the technology to reach the students and share a little bit of my personality with them. That way there is not much difference between being in a face-to-face class and being online," explained Hill.

Among her list of service to the profession is her work as a member of the editorial board of the Library Quarterly

According to Jaeger, Hill's teaching, research, and service are integrated and bring together professional practice, innovative research, and key theories. Currently, Hill is embarking on a new research interest in library service to the incarcerated, with a special focus on youth.

Many of Hill's publications focus on how to make LIS education more inclusive and better focused on meeting the needs of diverse populations. They are aimed at a wide range of professionals, and she frequently works with libraries and school systems to educate staff about diversity and inclusion practices, research, and opportunities. 

"My focus continues to be serving people who are often marginalized. It is an area that is often overlooked and uncared about. I'm still strengthening my ability to do research about and teach about them," said Hill.




Cooke elected SIGS director for ALISE

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:59:31 +0000

Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke has been elected director for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). As director, Cooke will serve on the ALISE executive board and act as the liaison to all of the special interest groups and committees.
 
Cooke has been active in SIGs as a member and co-convener of the Doctoral Student SIG and co-convener of the Multicultural, Ethnic, and Humanistic Concerns (MEHC) SIG. 

"I have been a member of ALISE SIGs since I was a doctoral student, and that participation has been key in my development as a faculty member," said Cooke. "I'm very much looking forward to working with the organization in this new role!"

Cooke holds a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University. She is an expert in human information behavior, particularly in the online context; critical cultural information studies; and diversity and social justice in librarianship with an emphasis on LIS education and pedagogy. Cooke is the 2017 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award as well as 2016 recipient of the ALA Equality Award. She is the author of Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals (Libraries Unlimited, 2016) and co-editor with Miriam E. Sweeney (PhD '13) of Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom (Litwin Books/Library Juice Press, 2017).




BCCB releases 2017 Guide Book to Gift Books

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:49:56 +0000

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books has released the 2017 Guide Book to Gift Books. This annual publication, available as a free downloadable pdf, highlights more than three hundred of the best books for giving and receiving. 

The Guide Book is organized by age group for easier access to the right books for a particular recipient: Picture Books, Books for Young Readers (Grades 1-3; 6-8 years), Books for Middle Readers (Grades 4-6; 9-11 years), and Books for Older Readers (Grades 7-12; 12-18 years). The guide offers a broad range of styles, genres, subjects, and challenge levels. 

"In an ever-changing world, books continue to provide joy for both children and adults," said Deborah Stevenson, editor of The Bulletin. "Whether those children take joy in boisterous humor, pensive poetry, or sweeping fantasy, you'll find a book they'll love in our guide."

The Bulletin, founded in 1945, is devoted entirely to the review of current books for children and publishes eleven times each year. Each issue provides concise summaries and critical evaluations with information on the book's content, reading level, strengths and weaknesses, and quality of format as well as suggestions for curricular use.




Cell phone software creates new possibilities for precision medicine

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 18:50:01 +0000

courtesy of the Carl R Woese Institute for Genomic BiologyBruce Schatz is an affiliated faculty member at the iSchool. Embedded in our society is a cultural memory of the old-time family doctor, a medical practitioner who knows of your family, your history, and your daily life, and uses that knowledge to provide the most optimal care. One Illinois faculty member and his research team have been working to move closer to that goal by exploiting a piece of familiar technology—the smartphone that can now be found in the average American's pocket. Professor of Medical Information Science Bruce Schatz and coauthors previously developed software for Android phones that uses the phone's native motion sensor to predict a lung patient’s disease state. That prediction was based on the patient’s movements during an exam at a hospital. In a study published in Telemedicine and e-Health (DOI: 10.1089/tmj.2017.0008), the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association, they described their latest step forward—a demonstration that the new version of their software can be used to monitor a patient’s status while they perform everyday tasks outside of the hospital. "The question I started working on ten years ago was how you could capture everything going on in a person's life, their environment, in enough detail to be clinically relevant, to help predict things," said Schatz, who is also a member of the Carl R Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. "By watching people moving with their phones . . . you might be able to tell what's special about the ones that do poorly." Traditionally, patients with respiratory conditions, including chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), can be assessed via several measures. Patients may be asked to breath into a spirometer, a device that measures the volume of air that a patient can breathe out in a certain time. A measure of health that relates to everyday functioning is the six minute walk test, in which patients are evaluated based on walking pattern as they walk down a corridor. Schatz' team had already developed and tested software that can predict the result of either of these tests with high accuracy. But to quickly identify when a patient's condition may be deteriorating, or to collect the volume of health data that a precision medicine effort would require, medical practitioners need an easier, more scalable way to monitor patients. "All of the efforts with fancy sensors that you stick onto people have failed because people don't stick them on properly, or only use them sporadically, or they only last for a certain period of time," said Schatz. "If you asked, what sensors does nearly everyone have that you can measure things with, you end up with phones." To fully take advantage of the ubiquity of cell phones, Schatz' team needed to adapt their previously developed software to effectively monitor relevant data about gait during everyday life. The original version of their software used the motion sensors and accelerometers in Android phones to track body motion, pauses during which an individual might be catching his or her breath, overall speed, and other features. Many of these features are complicated if the individual is doing tasks around the home or running an errand. In a clinical setting, any change from a healthy person’s gait might be related to lung function; in other settings, it might instead indicate setting down an object, interacting with another person, or pausing while considering what to do. Researchers improved their software's ability to focus only on movements that occurred during intervals when walking was the only activity. Schatz hopes that by continuing to expand the functionality of this software, his group can make it possible to collect much more robust data sets to further efforts in predic[...]



Irish receives local NAACP award

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 21:58:16 +0000

Sharon Irish, project coordinator for the iSchool's Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI), has received the "Yes We Can" Education Award from the Champaign County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The award, presented at the NAACP's Freedom Fund banquet on October 20, recognizes Irish's service to the community and commitment to equity in education. 

According to Irish, this award provided an opportunity to honor and celebrate the organizations with which she has worked over the past several decades: Dream Girls Academy, Inc.; Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center; Tap In Leadership Academy; Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club; Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths; and Ghetto Genius. She connected with many of these groups initially through her work at the CDI, formerly the Community Informatics Initiative, as well as through her involvement with local public libraries and schools. 

"Education means building on the cultural wealth in our communities, supporting each learner where they are to move toward their own goals in the context of their own relationships," said Irish. "The amazing leaders among us show up time and again to create new knowledge with other learners through creative interactions—imagining well-being and brilliance, collaborating to move toward those goals."

She said her aim has been to support and amplify the work of the leaders of these organizations.

"As Grace Lee Boggs wrote," she said, "'Students must discover their own understanding of the truth by developing a heightened awareness of their situation.’ We must explore 'why' in addition to knowing ‘how.'"




Allen selected as 2017-2019 iSchool research fellow

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 14:37:38 +0000

(image) Laurie Allen, director for digital scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, has been selected by the iSchool faculty as a research fellow for the 2017-2019 academic years. Research fellows are chosen because their work is relevant to the interests of the School's faculty and students. During the period of their appointments, fellows give at least one public lecture.

Allen leads a group working to expand the capacity of faculty and students at Penn to create and share scholarship in new forms, including data management and curation, mapping, digital humanities, and open-access publishing. As part of her involvement in the multi-institutional IMLS-funded "Collections as Data" National Forum grant, she is working to support new approaches to collecting, sharing, publishing, and caring for materials that are (or should be) held by cultural heritage organizations. 

Allen is interested in public data literacy and publicly engaged digital collaborations. Since 2014, she has served as the research director for Monument Lab, a public art and civic research project in Philadelphia that recently launched a city-wide exhibition and public data project. In addition, she is a key organizer of Data Refuge, a project in Penn's Program in Environmental Humanities that aims to protect copies of federal environmental and climate data through a distributed network, bring together volunteers to protect climate research, and call attention to the relationship between data and communities.

Before joining Penn Libraries in 2016, Allen worked as the coordinator of digital scholarship and services at the Haverford College Library. She holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Bard College and a master's of library and information science from Simmons College.
  
"I'm tremendously honored and pleased to be a research fellow at the iSchool," said Allen. "As a practicing librarian without a long list of publications, I am not used to thinking of myself as a researcher. That makes this opportunity to share what I have learned especially exciting for me. I look forward to joining in conversations with scholars and students in the iSchool about the ways that our field can support new forms of scholarly expression, especially when those forms engage with public data and attend to the needs and experiences of marginalized communities."




Jeanie Austin defends dissertation

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 19:40:51 +0000

Doctoral candidate Jeanie Austin successfully defended their dissertation, "Libraries for Social Change: Centering youth of color and/or LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth in library practice," on November 6.

Their committee included Associate Professor Emerita Christine Jenkins (chair), Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke (research director), Associate Professor Carol Tilley, Associate Professor Soo Ah Kwon (Department of Asian American Studies), and Rae-Anne Montague (Director of Grassroots Fundraising, Education Justice Project).

From the abstract:

Critically aware libraries are capable of providing meaningful services to youth made most vulnerable to the state through surveillance, policing, and incarceration.  This research traces how past policies and processes that established white, middle-class, and hetero-normative conduct and knowledge as central to library services have worked—and continue to work—against youth of color and/or LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth.  It pulls from queer, feminist, poststructural, and critical theory to provide a model for how libraries can center youth made vulnerable to the state.  This involves an interrogation of what representation does or can do in the current moment alongside the recognition that cultures within librarianship inhibit library access for youth of color and/or LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth.




John Deere internship gives MS student hands-on experience with data analysis

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 16:51:30 +0000

(image) Nandana Nallapu is learning about data science, both through her work in the classroom and as an intern for the John Deere Technology Innovation Center at the University of Illinois Research Park. With a bachelor's degree in information technology from SRKR Engineering College in India, she is building on her academic success by earning an MS in information management (MS/IM).

Nallapu worked as a software engineer before coming to the iSchool for her MS/IM degree. She discovered the opportunity at John Deere after attending career fairs and networking events during the spring semester. Her internship, which began in the summer, includes cleaning and analyzing agricultural data and finding ways to use the results in John Deere's apps and products. She enjoys working on interesting projects in an R&D atmosphere with the data science team.

"While the iSchool got me interested in learning the nitty-gritty of data science and how things worked, interning at John Deere has helped me transition from an academic learning perspective to the hands-on application of what I learned," Nallapu said.

"After finalizing my class schedule, I divide my week into school days (where I am in class), work days (where I am at John Deere), and study days. If I'm hard pressed for time and lagging behind in schoolwork, I take a couple of days off from work. I'm lucky because my manager, Mark Moran, is very understanding and strictly believes school comes first."

"The combination of her professional experience before grad school, her research since coming to Illinois, and the coursework of the iSchool has made Nandana a great addition to our team," said Moran, associate director and manager of data-driven innovation for John Deere Technology.

After earning her degree, Nallapu plans to travel and pursue a career in data science.




Liu receives grants to attend CIKM 2017

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 14:56:54 +0000

(image) Master's student Jiayi Liu has received two awards to attend the CIKM 2017 International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, which will be held on November 6-10 in Singapore. The conference will highlight technologies behind the "Smart Cities, Smart Nations" vision shared by urban areas worldwide and will explore technology and business collaboration opportunities through open innovation.

The first award received by Liu is the CIKM Travel Award, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Hypertext, Hypermedia and Web (SIGWEB). The second award is the SIGIR Student Travel Grant, sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval.

At the conference, Liu will present her work, "ClaimVerif: A Real-time Claim Verification System Using the Web and Fact Databases." Claim Verif is a claim verification system that provides credibility assessment for a query claim and validates the assessment results with supporting evidence. According to Liu, this claim verification system can be highly useful in practical applications by providing multidimensional analysis for suspicious statements, since it includes stances, opinions, source credibility, and estimated judgements.

Liu has a BS in computer engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Her interest in data science brought her to the iSchool's MS in information management (MS/IM) program. After completing her master's degree, she plans to continue her studies and pursue a doctoral degree.