2014 Grant Recipients

The School of Information’s Service Engagement Internship Award and International Internship Award programs provided funding to seven students who participated in unpaid internships in the summer of 2014. Service Engagement Internship Awards are granted to students who work to serve the community through information-related internships with non-profit groups, governmental entities, cultural or historical institutions, or other civic-minded organizations. International Internship Awards support practical engagement projects with high social impact that are global in nature.

Students in these roles developed and implemented professional activities that directly affected underserved populations, allowing for lasting change, creating equity, or significantly impacting society—values that reflect UMSI’s commitment to service through support in community engagement as part of the Initiative for Information Impact (I3).

The following students were supported through UMSI’s 2014 International Internship Grant and Service Engagement Internship Award programs:

International Internship Grant Recipients

Cara Bloom - UX Intern at Upinion
Amsterdam, Netherlands

A senior in the first class of the new Bachelor of Science in Information program, Cara worked at Upinion, an app startup based in the Netherlands that allows companies to ask questions and receive instant answers from their audience. She focused on organizing and running user studies, using both the quantitative and qualitative data acquired to improve usability and functionality of the app. The findings from these studies changed the course of the company, altering the purpose of the product to more accurately fulfill the needs of the users.

In the future, Cara plans to concentrate on how people share information on apps like Upinion. She hopes to learn how and why consumers share their information and what this means for the future of the information economy and privacy policy.


Sofia Dabrowski - Archives Intern at Westphalia-Lippe Archives
Münster, Germany

A student in archives and records management at UMSI, Sofia interned at the Westphalia-Lippe archive in Münster, Germany (LWL-Archivamt). LWL-Archivamt is an influential presence for the region’s archives. Sofia’s internship began with a short introduction to paper preservation, but her time was predominantly spent conducting quality control and organizing digital records.

To this end, she learned to discern 19th century German handwriting and also expanded her basic knowledge of coding and metadata in order to prepare finding aids for online publication. At the end of her project, Sofia posted a digitized collection and related finding aid from the Adelsarchiv Berleburg online, serving as an example for other archives.  

Sofia’s interests lay predominantly with organizational systems where digitized documentation can be accessed. Her internship focused on documents with archival value, but she can envision herself both in the archival and records management sides of the information lifecycle.

Internship blog: http://archivamt.hypotheses.org/927#more-927


Elizabeth O’Brien - Archives Intern at Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury, England

This past summer, Elizabeth had the opportunity to hop across the pond to complete a digital curation internship at the Canterbury Cathedral Archives Department. In between tea breaks, she digitized 13th century charters and crafted a digital preservation policy to better manage and preserve the digital assets of the Canterbury Cathedral. A highlight from her internship includes using the integrated software suite DocExplore to present 19th century photographs featuring the Cathedral grounds in 1861.  

After working in libraries and archives, she understands the dread that many cultural heritage organizations face when approached with how to manage their digital assets. In a future career, she hopes to help organizations navigate through this fear, while working to make archives more accessible to amateur users.  


Jackie Wolf - UX Intern at Fundación Paraguaya
Asuncion, Paraguay

Jackie enrolled at the School of Information in 2013, specializing in Human Computer Interaction and Library and Information Science, with a focus on combining user experience and user service. This past summer, Jackie spent her time working as a User Experience Designer for the non-governmental organization Fundación Paraguaya in Asuncion, Paraguay.

She analyzed the usability and accessibility of the organization’s website, created an online example of its Poverty Stoplight application for users to experience how individuals self-identify their poverty level, and developed a mobile business plan prototype for microfinance workers in the field.

This app, based on the foundation’s methodology of self-identification, helps educate women and give them the skills necessary to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Jackie is interested in exploring the idea of UX designers as user advocates and generating better ways to understand the needs of users with vastly different cultural and economic backgrounds.


Alexandria (Lexy) deGraffenreid - Balme Library Digitization Project Intern at the University of Ghana Balme Library
Legon, Ghana

Lexy specializes in archives and records management. This past summer she interned at the University of Ghana's Balme Library in electronic resources, working with both the Digitization and Electronic Services departments on the library's digitization program. Within the Digitization department, she digitized bound dissertations as well as inventoried and processed digitized images.

In Electronic Services, she added digitized theses to the university's DSpace repository, applying metadata standards, and updated items in the online repository. After graduating from UMSI, Lexy will seek to build upon her experiences at the Balme Library and hopes to work internationally to further digitization initiatives and increase access to and awareness of lesser-known archival collections.

Internship blog: http://lexydegraff.wordpress.com/


Service Engagement Award Recipients

Jean Hardy - Archives Intern at the Leather Archives and Museum
Chicago, Illinois

Jean is a second-year Master's student at UMSI with a tailored specialization. His schoolwork and research focuses on social computing and community archiving, mixed in with sexuality and gender studies. Jean spent his summer interning at the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago.

During his tenure at the LA&M, he processed three personal archival collections, prioritizing collections of queer women of color involved in the national Leather & SM scene. He also worked to expand the inclusion of community members in the archival process through designing and implementing new social media policies. These policies focused on using social metadata from Facebook pages as a form of participatory archiving. 


Anna Vantsevich - Intern at FoodCare
Remote from Ann Arbor

Anna is a Master of Health Informatics student with a background in neuroscience. She is passionate about leveraging information technology to support public health efforts that better the lives of underprivileged populations. Unfortunately, public health departments are often underfunded, especially those that serve low-resource communities, which makes it difficult for them to keep up with the current shift to electronic information.

Anna joined the FoodCare team to provide the necessary information technology pro bono to health departments across the U.S. so that these departments could adopt the new culture and support communities more efficiently and effectively. Anna is looking forward to a career in developing health IT strategies that amplify the impact of public health efforts and improve the health of underserved populations.