The School of Information celebrated its first January commencement ceremony, honoring the summer and fall 2016 graduates of the Master of Information & Data Science program.
Keynote speaker Judd Antin cautioned the graduates about the illusion of certainty. “Your own bias is your worst enemy — make it your mission in life and work to conquer it,” he said. “Accept that objectivity is a fantasy, and that data science is no more objective than any other way of knowing.”
Antin is the director of research at Airbnb, where he uses the methods and practices of UX and data science to study mediated interactions and the connections between attitudes and behaviors. His research draws from UX, HCI, social psychology, communication, behavioral economics, anthropology, and sociology. Judd was previously the manager of the Engagement and Core Experiences research group at Facebook. He earned a Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Information in 2010.
Antin challenged the graduates to use their data to gain a better understanding how other people make sense of things — and he assured them that the job has its rewards.
“When you try hard to understand someone else’s perspective, a bunch of beautiful things happen. You see the gaps in your own understanding. You see how to strengthen your argument. You build stronger relationships. You learn to be more humble, less convinced of your own rightness.”
Antin’s commencement address is available on the I School podcast.
Student and Faculty Awards
The ceremony also recognized students and faculty for their achievements. The two graduating classes voted to honor to faculty members with their Distinguished Faculty Award: Jimi Shanahan (selected by the summer 2016 graduates) and Alex Hughes (selected by the fall 2016 graduates).
Dean Anno Saxenian presented the Hal R. Varian MIDS Capstone Award to two outstanding project teams from each semester:
Summer 2016: 1st place: GoalTick (Abhishek Kumar, Brandon Shurick, Robert Mushinski, Anant Srivastava); 2nd place: Soteria: Distracted Driver Detection (Hetal Chandaria, Nathaniel Black, Howard Wen, Benjamin Spooner).
Fall 2016: 1st place: Dr. Art: Diabetes Re-Admission Risk Tool (Charles Carbery, Chris Jepeway, Daniel Sheinin, James Gray); 2nd place: WAQ: Water Air Quality Project (Ankit Tharwani, Ashley Levato, James King, Nina Kuklisova, Sean Underwood).