Commencement celebrates new grads, new award

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A highlight of the Spring 2013 UMSI graduate recognition ceremony on May 3 was the presentation of a new award to recognize student impact and influence.

Nikki Candelore Roda

Dean Jeff MacKie-Mason announced that a newly created award would be named for its first recipient. The Nikki Candelore Roda Student Impact Award recognizes a student who has shown initiative and dedication to service, has influenced the culture and climate of the school in positive ways, has been a student leader and good ambassador, and has left a lasting legacy.

In her first fall semester at UMSI, Nikki Roda initiated the A2DataDive, patterned on a similar event she attended in New York by Data without Borders (now DataKind). She recruited volunteer data scientists from inside and outside UMSI to come together for a weekend to analyze data supplied by local non-profits and help them put that data to better use in serving their clientele.

She continued the event in 2013, helping more non-profits including Food Gatherers and the Huron River Watershed Council. She also served as an executive officer of the Student Organization for Computer-Human Interaction and formed group advising sessions for the HCI and social computing students. As one of her fellow students noted, “Nikki made UMSI a better place to be a student.”

Since 1941, the school has awarded the Margaret Mann Award to students who show outstanding professional promise. Faculty nominate students for this award, which two MSI students received at the ceremony.

Jeremy Salfen was a University Library Associate for the two years he was at UMSI, served as an executive officer of the Student Organization for Information Analysis and Retrieval, worked on an NSF-funded grant project of his professor Qiaozhu Mei, and participated in the A2DataDive.

Erin Stratos also received a Margaret Mann Award. She participated on fund-raising teams for Alternative Spring Break, worked as an information architect with Thomson Reuters Techsmith, and helped organize the local participation in observation of World Information Architecture Day.

The Edmon Low Award recipient is chosen by students who nominate individuals they believe embody qualities valued by Professor Low: dedication to service, empathy, confidence-building, industry and responsibility. This year the award went to Terence O’Neill, president of the School of Information Master’s Association.  Sabarish Raghupathy, a SIMA liaison, presented the award to his fellow graduate. The ceremony recognized five students who earned doctoral degrees, 152 master’s degree recipients, and the first student to earn a master of health informatics: Johmarx Patton.

 The commencement address was delivered by University of Michigan’s incoming provost, Martha E. Pollack, a faculty member and former dean of the School of Information.

Posted on Monday, May 06, 2013