UMSI summer sessions introduce students to information science
Nearly 60 students were able to try on the University of Michigan School of Information’s undergraduate program over the summer. UMSI hosted or participated in three outreach programs: one for community college students, one for high school students and one for newly admitted college freshmen.
“These programs are designed to introduce students to our Bachelor of Science in Information degree and the university as a whole,” says Sandra Lopez, outreach coordinator for UMSI’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office. “They help remove or mitigate barriers students face regarding the accessibility and affordability of the university. We want students to see themselves as potential information scholars.”
Bachelor of Science in Information (BSI) students are admitted to UMSI at the beginning of their junior year. The BSI consists of two pathways, Information Analysis and User Experience Design, with opportunities to focus in areas like social media, entrepreneurship, digital humanities and consulting.
UMSI’s Community College Summer Institute (CCSI) has taken place every year since 2017 and was back in-person this summer for the first time since the emergence of COVID-19.
CCSI is designed to build current community college students’ confidence in navigating the transfer process. They get lessons and activities straight from UMSI classrooms. This year, they learned from expert faculty like associate professor Daniel Romero, assistant professor Paramveer Dhillon and lecturer Bobby Madamanchi. CCSI scholars also prepared for priority admissions consideration to UMSI’s BSI program and earned an Official Transfer Readiness Certificate.
“This is a great program,” says Shantaisa King of Grand Rapids Community College. “I looked at coming to the University of Michigan like jumping into deep water. Thanks to this program, I do not feel that I will sink. I can now hit the ground running while knowing I’m supported.”
This year’s summer outreach programs all aimed to confront barriers that limit the college and career aspirations of highly motivated students. That includes nurturing high school students from under-resourced communities.
Wolverine Pathways High School Summer Camp scholars connected remotely from Detroit, Southfield, Ypsilanti and Grand Rapids to explore the field of information science and related careers. UMSI experts like professor Ron Eglash and research fellow Hanna Hoover delivered lessons and activities on everything from the Python programming language to the intersection of information science and African cultures.
“I really enjoyed the diversity of the presentations and how presenters didn’t assume we knew a whole bunch about topics beforehand,” says Grabriel Turner of Washtenaw Technical Middle College.
Fifteen newly admitted freshmen heading to the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University also got a taste of the BSI program through the MI-LSAMP NxtGEN Summer Institute.
These potential transfer students come from communities underrepresented in STEM fields. The institute is designed to show NXTGen scholars they can succeed at UMSI and in STEM careers. They were able to ask questions of UMSI students about their journey to their chosen college and career pathway.
Sessions included “Introduction to Data Science” with clinical associate professor David Wallace, “Writing Stories with Programming” with PhD student Aadarsh Padiyath and “Data Justice: How to Keep Our Communities and Ourselves Safe” with assistant professor Patricia Garcia.
“We want all of these scholars to know they are valued at UMSI, and getting here and succeeding here is easier than they may think,” Lopez says.
— Martha Spall, UMSI writer