Feb 17, 2016

Alum Ashwin Mathew (Ph.D. 2014) Awarded iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Prize

The iSchools organization announced this week that Dr. Ashwin J. Mathew is the winner of the 2016 iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award. Dr. Mathew’s dissertation, “Where in the World is the Internet? Locating Political Power in Internet Infrastructure,” was judged the best dissertation from a member iSchool in the preceding academic year.

Ashwin J. Mathew is now a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Information and an internet infrastructure researcher at Packet Clearing House, an international organization responsible for providing operational support and security to critical Internet infrastructure. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Information in 2014. Before that, he spent a decade working as a software engineer and technical architect in companies such as Adobe Systems and Sun Microsystems.

The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding work in the information field. Nominations are solicited from all members of the iSchools organization, now 65 institutions worldwide, and judged by a selection committee drawn from leading international schools. The winner receives a prize of $2,500 US, the runner up $1,000. Honorees are also offered a travel allowance so they can collect their award in person at iConference 2016, which takes place March 20-23, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

“Dr. Mathew’s thesis, ‘Where in the World is the Internet? Locating Political Power in Internet Infrastructure,’ exemplifies the close ties between information technology and social science (in this case, ethnographic) research,” said Dr. Michael Seadle, head of the iSchool at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, who co-chaired the 2016 Award along with Dr. Shigeo Sugimoto, head of the iSchool at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. “The author looked at how the decision-making processes in the contemporary networked environment influence and depend on political circumstances, and gathered his data through skilled observation and direct involvement. In the final the reviewers all agreed that this was an outstanding work that richly deserved the prize.”

The runner up was Dr. Briony Birdi for her dissertation titled, “We are here because you were there: an investigation of the reading of, and engagement with, minority ethnic fiction in UK public libraries.” Birdi completed her Ph.D. in librarianship at the University of Sheffield Information School.

The 2016 iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award honorees will be recognized at a gathering of their peers at iConference 2016, which takes place March 20-23, 2016, in Philadelphia. The iConference is an international gathering of scholars and researchers concerned with critical information issues in contemporary society. The iConference is presented by the iSchools organization, and hosted each year by a different member school. The 2016 host is the Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics; this year’s conference theme is Partnership with Society.

The iSchools organization is a worldwide association of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field. These schools, colleges, and departments have been newly created or are evolving from programs formerly focused on specific tracks such as information technology, library science, informatics, information science, and more.

Last updated:

October 4, 2016