The School of Information is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of I School Graduate Scholars (ISGS).
The ISGS program was established with a grant from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. The program provides fellowship support for students who have overcome challenges in pursuing higher education, shown leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and/or plan to do research on inequality. The program also seeks to assist in designing I School community events. The scholars, who are members of the Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) or Ph.D. programs, will have the opportunity to suggest and influence the topics and structure of these events, providing a school-wide and student-driven platform for discussion and examination of key issues they want to foreground in academia and the tech industry.
Meet the cohort:
Jade is a first-year MIMS student focusing on product management. She also serves as VP of Academic Affairs for the Information Management Student Association (IMSA).
Jade graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BS in Engineering Science, she also served on the executive board of the Vanderbilt Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) all four years of undergrad Jade is passionate about transportation systems, and during the summers she was a Project Engineering Intern at Second Avenue Subway Project in NY, NY. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Jade knew that she wasn’t interested in becoming an engineer, and found product management as the perfect blend between her love for the sciences and her management interests. Looking for more guidance and opportunity to improve her skills, Jade came to the MIMS program to leverage her technical background with information technology.
“As someone who prides themselves on their interpersonal relationships,” Jade said, “I am working towards a career in Product Management so I can harness my natural ability to inspire and invoke change for consumers like me every day.”
Fun Fact: “I was a tour guide at Vanderbilt University and was featured on their virtual tour.”
Nailah is a first-year MIMS student specializing in UX research, she is also a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) student representative for the MIMS program.
Nailah says that she chose the I School because research has always been close to her heart. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, she studied cultural anthropology and consumer psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. After a job in market research, she quickly realized that she wanted her research experience to impact products and their creation, and not, as she says, “use research to meet a bottom line.”
She hopes to research ways to increase access to technology in developing nations, and a short-term goal is to focus on accessibility, inclusion, and representation for young women of color. She says that one of the challenges she’s encountered in the world of higher education has been “finding people who look like me, and who can relate to my personal experiences. Imposter syndrome is real and I have to actively work on dispelling it.”
Fun Fact: “I held the school discus record for three years at Penn!”
George is a first-year MIMS student focusing on data science and computational humanities.
George majored in economics as an undergraduate at Occidental College and wants to bring a humanities perspective and his liberal arts background to data science. “Understanding the impact of data science in the real world is critical to making sure it (data) doesn’t adversely affect equity, inclusion, or belonging.”
He grew up in Maryland, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast due to his father’s work with the World Bank, and chose the I School for its comprehensive approach to education and its commitment to community. George hopes that the ISGS cohort will foster cross-collaboration that connects students of differing backgrounds.
Fun fact: “Three different celebrities have almost hit me with their car while I was riding my bike.”
Seyi is a Ph.D. student with research interests in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and critical data studies.
Seyi graduated from Barnard College where she majored in Environmental Policy. She says that as a first-generation college student and as a Black woman pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D., she is often crossing disciplinary boundaries using the various strengths of scholarly inquiry in fields such as environmental studies, data science, and sociology — to apply a critical lens to her research interests. Inspired by Black feminist epistemologies, she uses her intersectional identity to ask research questions that both attends scholarship and places the voices of the historically marginalized as her main analytic for inquiry.
“As an undergraduate student,” Seyi said, “I often found myself borrowing from intellectual traditions that edified my existence in the world to the research I was doing within the environmental sciences. While at first it seemed pretty abnormal to apply an interdisciplinary lens to problems that have historically been answered through a specific set of methodologies, it really helped me unearth a way to ‘do research’ that was centered around justice and could uniquely speak to the larger and more structural issues within society.” As someone who is interested in finding synergy between various disciplines, she says she came to the I School “to hone this skill as an interdisciplinary scholar.”
She hopes to assist in developing programming for ISGS cohorts that allows future scholars to use their identity to inform their research pursuits.
Fun Fact: “I love to hike! My favorite hike to date: the Italian Dolomites in 2017.”
Cedric is a Ph.D. student with research interests in Responsible AI, Science and Technology Studies (STS), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
Cedric is an NSF Graduate Research Scholar, utilizing mixed methods to examine digital infrastructures and algorithmic materiality. Specifically, he currently works on the impacts of decentralized data infrastructures and edge computation on inequality, and on the research and practice of localized context in algorithmic development and deployment. His background is in federated machine learning deployments in healthcare systems.
His most recent published work was on how practitioners can and did assist in broad coalitional refusal of smart city infrastructures in San Diego. That work involved utilizing semi-structured interviews with community members and experts, along with content analysis of Freedom of Information Act documents and whitepapers, to guide a hackathon that resulted in a demo showcasing potential system harms, and in a policy report and a publication at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI).
“ISGS reflects the best of the I School in its commitment to fostering interdisciplinary spaces,” he says. “Being encouraged to bring different methodologies and backgrounds towards making progress on pressing, impactful research has made it so I’ve never doubted this space being the correct fit, and ISGS is a great way of continuing to foster that community.”
Fun Fact: “My mom is Brazilian and insisted that I speak Portuguese at home growing up since I’d naturally pick up English at school here in the US. I was born in London, so I lucked into attending the British School of Washington in DC, and actually learned to speak English with a British accent — long faded away, unfortunately!”