GIEP Fellows 2016

The seventeen GIEP participants in 2016 traveled to South Africa. Read their story.

Haven Night Shelter

Bader Bajaber is a research assistant at the City and Regional Planning Department at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia. KFUPM awarded him a scholarship to pursue his graduate studies in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests focus on housing affordability issues—particularly, how policy interventions could make a difference in delivering affordable housing. His goal is to work in academia and be an independent researcher. GIEP was a great chance for Bader to work in an international setting and be involved in community development and issues related to economic inequality. To him, it is a personal fulfillment to know that the needs of the less fortunate people have been met because of his involvement. In his free time, he likes to be outside walking around and listening to music. Bader says “I love you” to his mother, Fatimah, every day.
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Verena Getahun recently completed her master's degree at the University of Michigan School of Information. While at UMSI, Verena specialized in Library and Information Science but sampled broadly from coursework in data manipulation, web design, knowledge organization, and user-centered design. Verena is interested in surfacing good information for decision making within organizations, especially libraries and non-profits. Before attending UMSI, Verena worked for several years in acquisitions and interlibrary loan at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.
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Brittany Hutson is a second-year master’s candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information, specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. Her interests include user experience research, information architecture, and content strategy. Prior to starting graduate school, Brittany worked as an editor and writer, contributing to publications like Black Enterprise Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. She has interviewed a variety of small business owners, executives from Fortune 500 companies, and popular personalities like Carla Hall, Co-Host of ABC's The Chew. Brittany also has experience working in public relations with non-profit and government organizations in Washington, D.C. In 2007, Brittany studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and volunteered as a mentor with LEAP Science and Math Schools, which provides free education to students from high-need communities to study mathematics, physical science, and English. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Howard University.
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Maria Medlarz is a second year master's candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information, specializing in information analysis and retrieval. Before coming to Ann Arbor, Maria received a bachelor's degree in management information systems, and a minor in international business from the Pennsylvania State University. She has experience working with various different database management systems and programming languages. After obtaining her master's degree, Maria hopes to pursue a career working in the the field of consulting with non-profit organizations.
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The League of Friends of the Blind
Archives Project

Tricia Antonette Chua is a second year master’s student at the School of Information, specializing in archives and records management. Prior to moving to Ann Arbor she was a member of a worker-owned collective cafe in Berkeley, California. Prior to moving to Berkeley, she received a Bachelor of Arts in History from New College in Sarasota, Florida.
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Karen Fernandez is recently graduated with a specialization in Human-Computer interaction. She has user experience research and interaction design skills, as well as, a software development background. Karen currently works at General Electric where she applies her skills to help bridge the gap between the software world and the manufacturing industry. In her spare time, Karen enjoys crafts, dancing, and traveling. Karen is very excited to join efforts with the League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) organization in Cape Town this summer because she is eager to contribute to their mission of helping the visually impaired fulfill their life to their greatest potential.
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Erika Linenfelser is currently pursuing a dual masters degree from the University of Michigan in urban planning and urban design. She is also a research associate for the Detroit People’s Platform, a nonprofit advocacy organization in Detroit where she assists in research and community organizing efforts on transit and housing issues. Prior to coming to the U of M, Erika received a B.A. in architecture and urban studies from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Erika has a long history of working with community organizations in a variety of capacities and specializes in community development and design.
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The League of Friends of the Blind
Systems Project

Dalton Simancek is a second year graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Michigan pursuing a Master of Science in Information with a specialization in information analysis and retrieval.  He also works as a Project Manager in a Pediatric Research Unit helping to develop multimedia communication tools for families with chronic and/or newborn screening disorders.  As an undergraduate, Dalton studied English literature, Media studies and German.  His interests revolve around the intersections between storytelling, data, service and design.
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Kristyn Sonnenberg has a background in graphic design and earned her Masters of Information Science from UMSI in 2016. She completed a tailored specialization focused on UX Design for Community Development. Currently, she is part of the communications team for the Detroit Community Technology Project, specifically focused on the Equitable Internet Initiative. This work includes web development, UX design, and graphic design / branding. She is interested in music, traveling, linoleum and screen printing, dancing, hanging out with cats  Kristyn joined GIEP to step outside of her comfort zone, not only by living in another country for 2 months, but to immerse herself in the culture through work with a local organization. The program aligned well with her community development focus in my tailored specialization, and her specific project with League of Friends of the Blind allowed her to explore and put into practice what she had been learning about accessibility. Working in a community completely unknown to her helped her develop her skills in relating to people and working with them to understand their needs and build a solution.
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Meng Zhang is a second year Master’s student at the University of Michigan School of Information, specializing in Information Analysis and Retrieval. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics with minors in Computer Science and Economics from Michigan State University. He is interested in database management, and looks forward to the opportunity to bring his experience and skills to the LOFOB project.
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UWC-Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archive

Ève Bourbeau-Allard studies Archives and Records Management at the University of Michigan School of Information, class of 2017. She is especially interested in how history is written and contested through archival practice and representation, in finding ways to enhance collections discoverability, and in the social impact of archives. She holds a B.A. from McGill University and an M.A. from the College of William & Mary. There, she explored colonial and gender history and served as an archives apprentice at the W&M Special Collections.
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Aliza Elkin is a second year student at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she studies Archives and Records Management and Women’s Studies. Aliza is interested in feminist epistemology and information ethics, feminist and activist archives, and the documentation and preservation of the voices and experiences of women and people of color through the maintenance of cultural heritage institutions and the management of archives. Before coming to Michigan, Aliza earned a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.
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Sarah Lebovitz has just completed her first year as an Archives and Records Management focused student at the University of Michigan. Her main area of interest is in the gathering and accession practices of archival institutions, particularly in regard to how this process might relate to creation of social identity. She has an undergraduate background in cultural anthropology and archaeology.
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Yabonga

Ayshwarya (Aysh) Balasubramanian is a graduate student in the School of Information who is a passionate Data Visualization and User Interface Developer. She has a Computer Science background and aspires to become an Information Architect someday. She strongly believes that Design has a stronger impact on technology than programming because coding for a complicated, unusable, unintuitive design is futile. She loves designing for and learning from children and is fascinated by the speed at which kids learn. She enjoys documenting moments in pictures and expects to capture an experience of a lifetime via GIEP 2016.
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Danielle Culberson is second year Master’s candidate in the Health Informatics program at the University of Michigan, with an interest in data analytics and Health Information Exchange (HIE) operation.  She received her BBA from Northwood University in 2010 in Advertising/Marketing and worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for 2 ½ years prior to enrolling at UM. At U-M, she is involved with Women in Health Leadership (WiHL) and she has been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. since 2008.
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Lavanya Kumar recently graduated from the School of Information specializing in Human Computer Interaction. With a bachelors degree in Cognitive Science, she really enjoys understanding socio-technical connections, and is excited to further explore her interests by working with her team and to help create a student tracking system for Yabonga's Youth Program. She also has a huge traveling bug and is looking forward to discovering Capetown, its people, and its culture!
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Shreyas Ramani is currently a second year MHI student at the University of Michigan. He finished his undergraduate degree from Michigan, graduating with a major in chemistry in 2015. After graduating, he became interested in how data and technology and technology are used in healthcare, and especially how it can be used to improve the health of populations and individuals. In the past, he has worked for several biomedical labs at the University of Michigan. Outside of school, he is involved with United to Heal, a student organization that gathers, sorts, and ships unused medical supplies to developing countries, and participated in Innovation in Action this past year. He is participating in GIEP because of the community-level work Yabonga is doing to improve health in Cape Town.
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