School of Information Sciences

iFest 2015: Recap

Thank you to all our sponsors, employers, speakers, and volunteers/staff for making iFest 2015 such a success!  During the six-day festival, Pitt’s School of Information Sciences (iSchool) hosted more than 450 participants at six major events.

Highlights from the events included:

Mobile Apps for Healthy Lives Challenge

Congratulations to the winners of the iFest Mobile Apps for Healthy Lives Challenge--Alexander Andrew, Nicholas Campbell, and Marissa Torre--all BSIS students! Their app, "Developmental Digital Diagnostics," was designed for use in Rwanda to monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature using a variety of smartphone and external sensors. Additional features included local and remote data storage and a self-reporting function to aid in the diagnosis of visible skin rashes.

Digital Poster Competition

Congratulations to Nathalie Baracaldo, a student in the iSchool’s PhD Information Science program, who took home 1st place for her poster focused on improving safety in online social networks with regards to location awareness. 2nd place went to Chun-Hua Tsai, a PhD Information Science student, for his poster aimed at capturing real-time international relations through news reporting. Honorable mentions went to Thomas Robinson, MSIS, and Yves Patrick Tagatsi Fotso, MST.

Information Executive Roundtable

Information executives met over lunch with a select group of 27 top-performing students to discuss employment opportunities, strategies for career preparation, practical work experience, and the “soft” skills necessary for success as a leader in the information field. This event is an excellent opportunity for employers and students to network in an informal, small-group setting.

Career & Internship Expo

iFest’s single largest event, the Career & Internship Expo, provided 180 iSchool students with exclusive access to meet and network with 12 of the region’s top employers in technical and non-technical industries.

This well-attended event is held exclusively for Pitt’s iSchool undergraduate and graduate students, showcasing their exceptional skills and abilities to some of our region’s top employers.

TEC: Technology. Entrepreneurship. Creativity.

The sold-out 2nd annual TEC Conference showcased 12 leading information professionals from across the Pittsburgh region and country. Debra Lam, Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh, Office of the Mayor, delivered a keynote address discussing the critical importance of information and technology in government, public initiatives, and innovation.

TEC celebrates the interdisciplinary work being done in the field of information and provides a space for professionals and scholars to connect, share, and get inspired. For more information about TEC, click here.

Professional Development Day

This year, Professional Development Day provided 27 iSchool students with a 30-minute mock interview with one of nine iSchool alumni volunteers.

This experience provides students with invaluable, personalized, and immediate feedback and coaching on their interview skills in order to better prepare them to meet their future career goals.

You can view additional pictures of iFest 2015 on our Facebook page.


iFest 2015: February 2-7

Technology. Entrepreneurship. Creativity.

The iSchool is proud to present iFest 2015: Technology. Entrepreneurship. Creativity. iFest is a weeklong series of events designed to engage students, faculty, employers, and the Pittsburgh community. The week will include design and poster competitions, a networking luncheon for students and industry partners, the annual iSchool Career & Internship Expo, and professional development training with alumni. iFest will culminate on Friday, February 6 with the all-day TEC Conference, which will showcase exciting speakers from across the country. TEC presentations will focus on broad and interdisciplinary areas of technology, entrepreneurship, and creativity.

iFest 2015 also marks an exciting first-time partnership with TechShop Pittsburgh, a community-based workshop and prototyping studio. Working together, the iSchool and TechShop created the iFest|TechShop Game Design Challenge, exclusively available to iSchool students. Three teams were selected to receive free memberships to TechShop, including training in 3D printing and laser cutting, in order to build game prototypes. Teams will present their prototypes at TEC Conference.

Debra Lam, Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh, to Deliver TEC Keynote

TEC 2015 will feature keynote presenter, Debra Lam, Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh, Office of the Mayor. As Chief Innovation & Performance Officer, Debra oversees all technology, sustainability, performance, and innovation functions of city government, with responsibilities over City Information Systems, 311, Finance, Act 47, and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.

Prior to joining the Executive Team, Debra worked as a project manager and policy consultant at Arup, a global consulting and design firm. With over a decade of experience, her projects have included strategy work with the World Bank, APEC, and the C40 cities. She has spoken and published numerous articles on sustainable development, climate change, and urban resilience. Debra was amongst the 35 high achievers awarded a place on Management Today’s “35 Women Under 35″ list, and a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology.






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